Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Terrorize Y'all's Neighborhood

In five minutes, Halloween will have come and gone!  I didn't dress up and enjoy the festivities.  Instead, I worked.  But, boy oh boy did I see folks having a blast!!  I was in Santa Monica on Georgina Ave, which, unbeknownst to me, is THE place to be on Halloween.  There's a gentleman on the street who decorates the exterior and interior of his home for all the neighborhood to enjoy.  As I was leaving his next door neighbor's place, I walked by hundreds of people who were waiting in line to tour the man's house.  It was crazy!  But I loved watching the hundreds of little kids trick-or-treating from house to house.  That neighborhood truly makes a big deal out of Halloween.  And I assure you, when those children grow up, they'll have fond memories of their experiences there.  Heck, just seeing what I saw tonight gives ME fond memories of the neighborhood!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN to one and all!  ---  Oh...whatever you do, don't walk the street alone!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easier Said Than Done

I know it.  I truly believe it.  And, sooner, rather than later, my day-to-day life will illustrate it.  Take it away, Yul...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A DASH Of Good Luck

This past Sunday I was paid $40 to coach one of my friends so he'd be prepared for a huge audition the next day.  I have to admit, when he walked into my living room and began, I was verrrrrrry pleasantly surprised.  The character, for all intents and purposes, is a flamboyant, gay guy.  My friend is straight.  But, boy, oh boy, did he have that character down pat.  And he didn't make the character a caricature, either, like so many straight actors do!

We went over the material again and again.  I fired question after question at him to see how well he knew the character.  He learned some things.  And I learned some things.  What I commend him for is his fearlessness.  Any number of straight, male actors get incredibly nervous about performing effeminate roles.  Their fear inhibits and prohibits them from making the character a real, breathing person.  Not my boy, though.  He took on that role as if he WAS the character!  In fact, he sounded and acted exactly like many, effeminate, gay guys I've met over the years.

Well, today my friend told me he went back in for the callback!  Yippee!!!  That means the head, casting director liked what he saw during the pre-read audition.  I'm crossing my fingers, eyes and legs for this one.  I want him to book this gig as if I'm gonna get some moolah from it!  Haaa!  It just makes me happy to have been instrumental in building and shaping his performance.  Only time will tell what's next.  God bless him.  And God bless me, too.  I just texted him to refer my excellent, coaching services to every actor he knows!!!  Maybe coaching will be my sorely needed segue out of the catering world!!!

And, oh, when I agreed to help my friend with this audition, he sent me the sides.  As soon as I read them I knew precisely who the character was.  And I immediately e-mailed him a video of the "character."  Um...that "character" appears below!!!

To Each His Own

Last night I attended a private screening of Steven Spielberg's, LINCOLN.  Of course, the film was photographed well and the actors were terrific.  However, the film simply wasn't for me.  I'm glad I saw it, though.  Daniel Day Lewis will undoubtedly receive major awards nominations and/or wins!  Good for him.  But, again, the film simply wasn't for me.  But I wish it the very best!  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Night Of Only Two Stars

I just stumbled upon a video of Katy Perry performing her hit, Firework, with an autistic, young girl named, Jodi DiPiazza.  And, honestly, the performance was truly touching to me.  They performed at a Comedy Central fund-raiser, Night Of Too Many Stars.  Check out the video below.  If you have even half a heart, it'll make that half feel warm and tingly inside!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nashville

A couple days ago I decided to catch the premiere episode of the new, ABC series, NASHVILLE.  It stars Connie Britton, who was one of my faves on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.  This time around, she portrays a country & western singer who is not fitting into today's music market.  I have to admit, this show reminds me of the nighttime dramas of old (i.e. Flamingo Road, Knots Landing, Dallas, etc).  I'm hooked!  I just finished watching the second episode and am looking forward to the third next week.  There's nothing like creating characters a viewer can care about.  So, kudos to the creator(s) and writers of the show.  You've got a viewer in me!

Watch the show HERE!

Ol' Black Beauty

Oruger "Rudy" the Boom vom Kraftwerk

My fraternity brother, Zaheer, just bought a new, German Shepherd puppy.  He posted a pic of the puppy's father onto his Facebook page.  And what a beauty dear ol' dad is!  He goes by the name, Oruger "Rudy" the Boom vom Kraftwerk.  Today, Zaheer also posted info on Rudy's training by the folks over at Kraftwerk.  What a gorgeous and highly intelligent dog he is.  I love looking at him so much I've made his pic my desktop background!  As soon as I move into my first house, I'm getting me a "Rudy."  Yep!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

EMAYATZY! EMAYATZY! EMAYATZY!

Emayatzy Corinealdi

Earlier today I ventured into West Hollywood to see writer/director Ava DuVernay's indie film, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  And, boy, oh boy, am I glad I did!!!  First, let me say that I've been dyin' to see this film since the moment I watched its trailer.  I  could tell immediately that it was my kind of film.  A story about real people.  People I could know.  People I could care about and learn from.  There were no car chases, car explosions or blue people floating in air.  Just real, everyday people and the trials and tribulations of being such.

When I worked at MACY*S Herald Square in NYC, I befriended a co-worker whose husband was incarcerated.  She waited for him lovingly just as the lead character in this film did.  Eventually, however, my friend's walls were broken down and she was prepared to let another man show her the affection her husband couldn't.  As fate would have it, I was that "other" man.  When I realized her feelings for me were more than they should have been, I cooled things down.  I never actually discussed with her how she felt about her husband's incarceration.  I wish I had.  Well, in the film, the lead character, "Ruby," allows her walls to come tumbling down, too.  I suspect it's immeasurably difficult to remain faithful to someone who isn't faithful to you.

Middle Of Nowhere is truly an important piece of cinema for black writers, directors and actors in Hollywood; because it illustrates a kind of storytelling, in a predominantly black film, that is rarer than black folks in pro hockey.  The film moved at an easy, yet steady pace.  I liked that.  It allowed me ample time to feel that I actually knew these people.  And that I wanted the best for them.  The lead actress, EMAYATZY CORINEALDI, who portrayed, "Ruby," was a diamond among jagged rocks.  Her soft, serene voice and inarguable beauty are enough to make me want to see the film again.  Her calm, understated performance is proof positive that anger, disappointment and utter heartbreak don't need to be loud or strident.  Even when her character never said a word, her face spoke volumes.  That, folks, is called A-C-T-I-N-G!  I hope and pray we hear tons and tons more from Emayatzy.  A talent like hers MUST be treasured by the masses.   

Change, It Comes Eventually

I don't know where Lauryn Hill is today.  I don't know what she's up to.  But I do know that when she was 25 yrs old, she possessed a wisdom beyond her years.  Beyond the years of ALL her contemporaries.  I would never say that the music industry should do away with the Nicki Minajs, Ke$has and Lil Waynes.  There's a place for them, too.  But I'd much rather listen to the wisdom and melodic music of Lauryn's.  It appears that her fame might have caused her more harm than good.  Perhaps great fame is never a good thing for anyone.  I don't suspect I'll ever know for myself.  What I do know, though, is that listening to a young, Lauryn Hill speak to even younger people has made my night.  'Cause listening to someone speak when they truly have SOMETHING to say is all right by me.  Oh, how I long for young performers like her to make a comeback.

God bless her.

"Everything is everything.
What is meant to be, will be.
After winter, must come spring.
Change, it comes eventually."

"Everything Is Everything" by Lauryn Hill

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Say A Little Prayer


Yesterday I received a call from my friend, Greg, who books me for catering gigs from time to time.  Apparently someone he booked for last night backed out, so, he called and asked me to fill in for the cat.  Since I rarely have gigs on the books, I was available.  En route to the gig, he told me that the chef we were to be working for had to be rushed into surgery unexpectedly.  Luckily, her hubby, also a chef, was able to sub for her.  But this post isn't about the gig.  And it isn't about the chef's hubby.  It's about the chef.

Cari (the chef) has been in and out of the hospital a few times since I've known her.  But only yesterday did I feel a sense of fear for her safety.  Actually...for her life.  While working, one of my co-workers told me that Cari's young son fears his mom will die.  He begged her to promise him that she'd never go back to the hospital.  At the time, I believe she made that promise.  But, of course, she knew full well she could never keep it if her body needed help.

When I look back over my blog posts and in my written journals, I clearly see that I talk about bettering my circumstances and overall person quite a bit.  To some, I'm sure that's just CAM complaining about his life.  But, to me (the person who means the MOST to me anyway), it's simply what it is:  me voicing out loud what I want to change in my life.  I accept that repetition is how people learn.  How they grow.  So, if repeating the change(s) I want in my life a million times per day is what it takes for me to actually make the change(s), so be it.  Cari, on the other hand, probably has no say in whether or not she can make the physical change to well-being.  Her situation undoubtedly is what it is.  

I thank God I have always shown her kindness.  'Cause, if she feels like sh*t now for fibbing to her son, or because she fears leaving him and others she loves, I hope my kindness provides even a moment of happiness for her.  I hope she knows that she's loved.  And needed.  And appreciated.  And wanted.

I say a little prayer for her.  Forever and ever.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Killing Me Softly With His Sermon

While sitting in my usual seat at church today, the pastor walked down the aisle at one point and practically stood directly in front of me as he spoke.  He was talking about how some of us have hit a wall in our lives.  How we're moonwalking instead of walking forward.  He talked about being bold with our choices.  Walking by FAITH and not by sight.  In my humble opinion, he was talking directly to ME!  In the immortal words of Roberta Flack & Lauren Hill, he was killing me softly with his sermon.

I know full well that I'm not living my highest life.  And I know full well it's because I've made or NOT made decisions based upon fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of success.  Just unnecessary fear.  At 48 yrs old, I don't reckon I have ANYmore time to waste.  Each beat of my heart and tick of the clock puts me thisclose to the day I will be no longer.  So, it's high time I be BOLD.  It's high time I reach for the STARS so I can catch one.  It's high time I live up to the magnificent potential I possess.  Yes, I've completed two books and a screenplay over the past two and half years, but it's time to create/write something new!  --- But, boy oh boy, did Pastor TourĂ© (PT) speak directly to my soul today.

Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his [sermon].

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Inner Thoughts


I hear you LOUDLY & CLEARLY!!!!!  Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Uppercut, Ohio

The internet is abuzz about a video, featuring a Cleveland, OH bus driver who lands one of the most vicious uppercuts ever seen by man to the unsuspecting chin of a screeching, loud mouth negress!  In fact, the man hit her so hard her "pontytail" fell off.  Haaa!  No, I don't think the incident was funny.  In fact, I know had I been on that bus, I would've felt horrible.  However, I wasn't on the bus, and, based upon what I saw in the video, the young lady looked like she had it comin' to her.  Since the attack, the bus driver has been suspended and the young lady is making the tv interview rounds.  I guarantee you both of them have learned a valuable lesson from this, unfortunate occurrence.  He's learned to let customers talk all they want.  She's learned NEVER to put her hands on a man again.  EVER!!!  Below is the video of the actual encounter and a hilarious review of the fight by one of the funniest, "sassy" fellas I've ever had the privilege of hearing!  Haaaaa!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Model Behavior

Ray Armstrong

Since 2008 I've kept a close eye on the murder trial of former model, Ray Armstrong.  He was arrested back in September of that year for the strangulation murder of one of his close friends.

Ray's account of the evening was that he was ill and went to visit his friend.  He said that at some point, he dozed off in one of the friend's bedrooms and awakened to find the friend attempting to sodomize him.  He told the jury, "I could feel his penis in my butt cheeks."  Then, Ray allegedly fought him off.  So, in essence, he was simply defending himself.  I suspect since Ray's friend was strangled to death, the jury didn't buy his account of self defense.  As of June 2012, Ray was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in a state prison without parole.

What actually took place in that house the world will never know.  But what we do know is that an inarguably attractive, young man murdered another man.  And that he's paying the penultimate price: life in prison.  Unfortunately, his "friend" paid the ultimate price: death.

ALL photos by STEVEN BLANK PHOTOGRAPHY.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cast Away

Lori Openden

Robi Reed

Tonight I attended a discussion with casting executives, Robi Reed (BET) and Lori Openden (The CW).  The discussion was hosted by One Church International in their beautiful Artist Resource Center (ARC).  The place was standing room only.  Since I RSVP'd early, I got a seat, but many others didn't.  Anyway, I could see how thrilled many of the audience members were.  I suspect most of them are new to the Hollywood, acting scene.  Their questions pretty much confirmed my suspicions.  All in all, though, I was happy to be in the midst of so many young, black people who seemingly want to forge showbiz careers in this town.  Admittedly, I suspect 90% of the people in the room will never earn significant livings in front of the camera.  So, I'm hopin' & prayin' those who don't, find satisfying and lucrative careers behind it.  Myself included, thank you very much.


One Church International is indeed a godsend to many of us in North Hollywood.  By this time next month, though, the church will have moved to Los Angeles.  LaBrea Ave at Melrose Ave.  I still plan to attend services on the Sundays I'm not at my volunteer gig.  And as soon as I complete this blog post, I'm gonna go to the church's website to sign up to even be of service during Sunday services.  It's high time I be more than a spectator at church. And in my day-to-day life!  I'm more than able to be a participant.  So, a participant I shall be!!!  I mean, heck, being a participant in anything is where all the fun lives!!! 

The Wall

While living in NYC I can't even recall how many times I was stopped by police officers and frisked.  I always looked like a "drug dealer" or, at one point, a "bank robber."  The one and only time I was mugged in NYC was by a cop.  Or so he said.  No, he wasn't in uniform, nor did he jump out of a marked car.  But I believed him because I had been stopped by plain clothes cops before.  In Jersey City, a plain clothes cop ran at me with his gun drawn.  That was the one time I "looked like a bank robber."  Well, I just read an article on Facebook about New York's current Stop & Frisk law.  If the NYPD feel probable cause to stop and frisk a citizen, they can do so.  Back in the '90s, they were stopping and frisking with "probable" cause, too.  That's when I encountered all my incidents.

I could fill volumes and volumes of books with what  I don't know.  But what I know for sure is that my gender and the color of my skin were all the "probable cause" the NYPD needed to stop and frisk me.  Yes, in the beginning it was humiliating.  By the 10th time or so, it became as natural as having someone ask me for the time.  It is now 2012 and nothing much has changed.  Well, actually, something has changed.  Because now, it appears that when one is stopped and frisked, if he asks any too many questions, he'll be Stopped, Frisked, Beaten & Arrested.  When I talk to God tonight, I'm gonna be sure to ask, "When will unkindness end?"  I hope and pray He answers me.
  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hardy Har Har

Last week was the airing of my horrendous performance on the updated version of the game show, THE PYRAMID.  No, I didn't watch, but I did tell my siblings and a couple of friends to take a gander.  And they all did.  And most of 'em also laughed their butts off!!  My older sister, Honey, laughed so hard at my piss poor play that she cried.  And I'm talkin' real tears of JOY!  Haaaa!  My brother, God bless his lil' ol' heart, told me that I didn't do too badly at all.  What a LIAR!!!  Haa!  Oh, well, I'm simply thankful for the $500 I won and happily look forward to the day it arrives in my mailbox!!!!!  Despite being awful on the show, a part of me still feels ready to take on the next game show!!!  Yep, the eternal optimist am I!  :)

Wanted!

Three, prospective illustrators for my first, children's book have come and gone.  I've gotten four illustrations drawn.  I need 30+.  I just read something the other day that, in essence, told me and others in my shoes, that we shouldn't concern ourselves with having illustrations drawn before we sell our books to publishers and/or literary agents.  That if an editor loves what we've created, he/she will know who to contact to illustrate the book.  Okay, so I'm officially calling off my desperate search for an illustrator.  Instead, I'll focus my energies on completing the second book in the series.  Um...I won't turn away any leads toward procuring a literary agent in the interim, though!!!  :)

And I STEEL Like It

Last night I headed over to Donald's spot to catch the all-black cast remake of one of my fave plays:  STEEL MAGNOLIAS.  Before the telefilm began, we feasted on one of his fave concoctions:  stir-fried vegetables, pasta and tuna.  Believe it or not, the dish tastes pretty good.  Anyway, for the most part, I was pleased with what I saw.  No, the modern script didn't move me like the original, stage production, but it kept my rapt attention nonetheless.  Kudos to Queen Latifah for producing a piece of quality work that a black actor/actress isn't too embarrassed to tell his/her grandmother to watch!  Yes, Robert Harling's original creation is about people.  Doesn't matter their race.  It's high time black writers create work that does the same.  Heck, I'm a writer, so I reckon I should write a solution to the problem instead of simply talking about it.  Point self-taken!

Before Steel Magnolias' broadcast, Lifetime featured a series of other predominantly black cast telefilms.  I saw a glimpse of Disappearing Acts and a tale ripped from recent headlines, Abducted, starring Sherri Shepherd.  All in all, the Lifetime Network made me a happy boy!  I look forward to seeing similar programming on other networks as well!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

There Are No Coincidences

While walking home from my volunteer gig at the assisted living residence today, I was stopped by an attractive, young lady who introduced herself as, Nicole.  She asked me what was printed on my t-shirt.  The t-shirt read:  "I am a Mentor - Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles."  I was also wearing a name badge with my name, of course, and the words: "Sunrise Senior Living."

I explained my former volunteer gig with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles.  Then, I told her about my current volunteer endeavor with Sunrise Senior Living.  BAM!  Turns out that Nicole has been wondering lately how to marry her fitness training background with helping seniors keep active.  Well, along comes ol' CAM Jr to give her the extra umph to make a move!  I happily told her about Sunrise and encouraged her to contact them to do some volunteer work there, too.  The entire time I talked to her I told her that I was meant to cross her path at the moment I crossed it.  I told her that The Universe obviously wanted to affirm her desire to work with the elderly.  She truly seemed very moved by my testimony about what compelled me to volunteer at the residence.  As I walked away from her, all I could think was, I may not be a hotshot CEO or live in a big house or even own a car, but, at that very moment, I was EVERYTHING Nicole needed. And I added to the fulfillment of my life's purpose:  to be a blessing to others.

I sincerely hope she climbs aboard the volunteering-with-the-elderly train.  It's an eye-opening and satisfying ride if her heart and mind are open.  God bless her.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sectional Anonymous

Hello, my name is, CAM Jr, and I'm a sectional sofa addict.  Since the first time I saw one, I have been in love with them.  And I mean darn near rabidly in love.  But what's interesting is, I've never owned one.  Lately, I've been looking at homes for sale so I can have a space large enough to fit a four or five-piece sectional sofa.  Okay, two or three, sectional sofas to be precise.  Ain't that a trip?  Most folks look to buy a home to fit their growing families or for investment purposes.  I want to buy a house to fit one or more ridiculously plush, chenille-covered sectionals.  Yes, I'm very particular about the fabric that'll cover my dream.  Leather is a no-no because it's too cold in the winter and too hot and sticky in the summer.  Corduroy is out!  Not smooth enough. Chenille is simply the perfect blend of everything!  Soft.  Gentle.  Cozy.  Just perfect!  So, chenille, sectional sofa, I'm comin' for you!!!!  And that's what I know for sure!! 

That's What She Said

I used to have a subscription to Oprah's O Magazine.  Back then, I made sure to also send subscriptions to my four sisters and to one of my dearest, female friends.  I haven't subscribed to the magazine for the past, several years, but I think that's gonna change.  When I'm in the supermarket, I find myself choosing the longest check-out line I can find so that I can read as much of the magazine as I can without purchasing it.  Oops, I didn't just admit that, did I?  Yes, I did!  And I ain't ashamed to admit it, either!!

What draws me to the magazine is Oprah's column, What I Know For Sure.  In it, she simply discusses what life lessons she knows for sure.  Simple as that.  It's the first thing in the magazine I read.  And that's funny, 'cause it's the last column/article written in every issue.  Every time I read it, I feel energized in some way.  I feel that she's speaking directly to me.  I reckon that aspect of her person is what has endeared her to so many for so long.  We all feel like we know her.  Although her fortune and stature in this country have grown exponentially since she debuted nationally in '86 or so, I still feel like I know her.  And that's why I'm gonna re-subscribe to her magazine.  That much, I know for sure.   

I See The Light --- The Red & White

Facebook is truly a terrific means of passing information.  When I read my newsfeed I enjoy learning about others and how they live their lives.  Just now I came upon the video below.  All I can say about it is that it appears the newlyweds had the time of their lives!  And, truth be told, I loved every, single moment of it.  I wish them the best life has to offer.  It appears they're off to a dang great start!!!  God bless 'em both!!!!