Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A New Cotton Club Movie Is Needed

In the 1992-1993 edition of Rex Reed's Guide to Movies on TV & Video, he stated that "[a]ll my life I've been hearing about the Cotton Club, that Harlem bastion of glamour, sequins, and jazz." So when Reed viewed Francis Ford Coppola's long-awaited 1984 film called The Cotton Club, he had one question, "[b]ut where is the Cotton Club?" His conclusion: "Somewhere on the cutting-room floor." Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide gave it two and a half stars and noted that "the movie isn't nearly as interesting as the published stories about its tumultuous production!"

When I saw the movie during its release, I too was greatly disappointed. Around that time I had written a syndicated article for the Los Angeles Times about the real Cotton Club. The article included interviews with those who had worked there as entertainers.

The movie's version, unfortunately, was too focused on the gangsters who owned and ran the nightspot. If there is ever a remake of The Cotton Club, the lives of and the backstage drama involving the black entertainers should be at the forefront of the story. After all, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, and Ethel Waters were among those who worked there and became household names. (Spike Lee, Lee Daniels, and other black filmmakers, are you listening?) Plus, the Cotton Club was a microcosm of race, class, and colorism. It was a place where blacks were welcome as entertainers, but not as patrons.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Tribute To CBS Newsman Bob Simon

RIP Bob Simon of CBS's Sunday night newsmagazine program, 60 Minutes.
A Los Angeles Times article about Bob Simon, who died recently in a car crash on the West Side Highway in New York, stated that "[h]e reported more than 200 stories for the '60 Minutes' program and its spin-off, '60 Minutes II.'" It might be good idea for CBS to put a few of these broadcasts on DVD so that 60 Minutes fans can once again enjoy his work. It would be a fitting tribute to his long and successful career in journalism.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Putting The Right Amount Of Food In A Fast-Food Bag

At home, while eating a chili dog topped with raw diced onions that I purchased at Checkers, a fast-food chain, I noticed that on the bottom of the bag were three illustrated panels in red in the shape of a paper bag. Each panel showed the kitchen staff how many of what items would fit inside the bag. I've never seen such illustrations on take-out bags at any other fast-food restaurant. The first panel shows that four hamburgers and a container of fries will fit in the bag; the second panel shows that four hamburgers and two containers of fries will fit; and the third panel shows two hamburgers, a container of fries, and one chicken strips/fry box. I assume most customers at Checkers are too focused on their order to give much attention to these illustrations. To me these illustrations are a good idea because they are a guide for the staff to follow to prevent them from putting too many hamburgers and/or fries in a particular size bag.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015