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Singer Antoine Dunn Readies New Musical Chapter with BY DESIGN

Recording Artist Antoine Dunn has been enjoying success in his musical career, seeing his music feature fans around the world. His newest...

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Monday, February 28, 2011

TAKE TEN: Director/Author Gary Hardwick


Gary Hardwick is the very definition of a creative powerhouse. The Detroit native is the man behind some of the great movies of the past decade including The Brothers and Deliver Us From Eva and hit tv shows like Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, but there is more to him than what you see. He has even been an integral part of what we read as well, producing several books over the years that have sparked conversation and satisfied readers.

He is also beginning the year with a new book DARKTOWN REDEMPTION, a read that is sure to have his fans and new readers burning through the pages.

Candid, approachable yet undeniably a force to be reckoned with, the Los Angeles, CA resident talks to us about his career in entertainment, how he balances his various roles and what all aspiring creatives need to know about the business.

 

Gary, thanks for talking with Conversations. Let's talk first about your career in the arts and entertainment as a whole. What has surprised you the most about what you have accomplished? 
That I actually accomplished it. I was very naive about Hollywood. I thought it was a place where all you had to have was talent. There is so much more to it, like hard work, perseverance, politics and yes, luck.

Take us back. When did you realize that you were good at telling a story?
I was 12 and one of my teachers read one of my stories in class and there was silence. All these knucklehead kids just shut up and listened.

Was it something that was encouraged by your family and those around you?
No and you'll hear this from most writers. No family wants their son to be a writer because it seems like a pipedream. And your friends? They never want anyone to achieve more than they have. I hate to sound cynical but it is hard to have a public dream. Most of us kept it quiet until we couldn't anymore.

When it comes to a big break, Gary, what would you say it was for you?  This is a tough one because looking back it could have been many things.
But I'd have to say it was being selected by the Walt Disney Writing Fellowship Program. There were 1,000 or so entrants and only four of us made it in.

Some know you because of your work on movies, but you have had a great deal of success as an author as well. Have you found that your being diversified as also brought you different fans for each project?
Yes and I am trying to get them to consolidate! My film fans say "You wrote a book?" and I say "I've written eight." Book fans never quite put me together with the movies.  I've spent so much time trying to get one of my books made into a film. So far, I've sold three but none have made it to the screen.  I think that when it happens the two camps will come together.

All of us experience highs and lows. How do you stay motivated when things don't go our way? 
I write. I just sit down and create something new.  Writers are the only people who don't need anyone else to get their job done. We are self-originating you could say.  Fan emails and posts on Facebook also help.

Talk to us about the new book.
It's titled Darktown Redemption and it's a mystery thriller set in 1967 and '68.  There was a riot in Detroit in 1967 then Dr. King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and the Black militants came into the city to stir up a violent revolution.  In my novel, a boy is killed after the riots and his brother a Vietnam Vet turns detective to find the killers while history swirls around him.  The book is based in part on true events and I hope everyone will read it.

What advice do you have, Gary, for individuals wanting to break into Hollywood? 
Go to college, become educated, get married have a life. Experience life and have something to write about. These days everyone wants to write a screenplay and cash out. It just doesn't work that way no matter what you've read. They make up so many b.s. success stories out here. No one stumbles into success. You work for it or it's given to you because of who your parents are.  That's just the plain honest truth.

What about for writers? What do you normally tell those who want to know the secret of being published?
There is no secret anymore. The publishing business is a wreck. Self-publishing, regional publishing, digital books, e-readers are the future of our medium. The publishers are trying to compete with Hollywood by creating franchises and bastardizing our most artistic undertaking. If you want to get published the best way now is to prove it to them by doing it yourself.  Point of fact, Darktown Redemption caught the fancy of two major publishers but both wanted me to change the story in opposing ways. So, having already had success in publishing a novel under my own imprint, I decided to do it again and keep all the money.

Thanks again for your time. How can our readers keep up with everything you have going on?
They can go to my website www.garyhardwick.com and look under the title "What's Going On." they can also join my FaceBook page and read my blog at http://garyhardwick.blogspot.com.


You Hold the Keys to the Love You’ve Always Wanted: All You Have to Do Is Move In


by Lori Pinkerton, special to Conversations Magazine
Feb./March 2011 issue

Do you feel like you’ve tried everything to find real love only to be disappointed again and again? Are you in a relationship that isn’t quite working? Maybe he’s emotionally unavailable, or maybe he shies away from commitment. Maybe you shy away because you know deep down you’d be settling. Or perhaps you’ve had one unsatisfying date after another, and you’re starting to think that real love doesn’t exist—at least not for you.

Odds are, with each painful experience, each fear of rejection, you’ve withdrawn further inside, putting up walls to protect yourself from getting hurt again. The problem is, those same walls that protect you also keep out love.

You may be so used to where you are living inside that you don’t even realize you’ve lost touch with what real love means to you. Finding love has gradually become less of a priority in your life. Every time you put all your energy into everything else—kids, work, and myriad obligations—you push love further and further down on your to do list. Yet without love in your life, everything else is more stressful, draining your energy and self-confidence. By giving up on love, you give up on yourself, on living the full life you deserve.

But I haven’t given up, you might think. I’ve tried. There just aren’t enough good men out there, or they aren’t interested in me. I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, stylish enough to attract the men I really want to date.

These are all factors on the outside, but the real problem is where you live inside. If you want to find genuine love—the kind that makes you leap out of bed in the morning, that makes you feel understood and desirable, that makes you enthusiastic in every little thing you do—then you need to move out of your internal fortress and start living in a new place inside. A place where you are free of past pain and inspired every day to be your best self.

You already hold the keys to making this happen. You don’t have to be someone else, and you can start moving in today.

Key 1. Imagine your inner dream house
What do you really want out of life? Imagine how you want to feel every day. Creative? Confident? Sexy? Energetic? What do you look forward to doing? Do you want a cozy life with low lighting, or do you long for wide open spaces and large windows with lots of light? Perhaps a little of both. You can have that. It’s your house.

Key 2. Decorate your new place
Surround yourself with what inspires you and energizes you—what you are passionate about. Stop committing your time to half-hearted interests and what other people think you should be doing. Decide from here on out to devote your everyday life to your passions. Explore new interests. Own and be proud of your unique preferences and personality. Put them on display!

The more you surround yourself with what you truly love, the easier it is to attract true love into your life. Confidence comes from being fully who we are and surrounding ourselves with people, things, and activities that support and inspire us to be our best selves.

Key 3. Decide what to pack—and what to leave behind
Your fortress is filled with reminders of why you built it in the first place—tokens of old relationships, past pain, and all the mental clutter that tells us who we should be instead of inspiring us to be who we want to be.

Before you move into that new place in your life, you have to mentally and emotionally declutter. Toss out reminders of past hurts and keep the parts of your past that are still useful to you. Leave behind old habits that only reinforce your insecurities. What aspects of your past do you love and want to bring with you? What are you afraid to let go of and why?

When in doubt, go back to imagining yourself living every day in your new place. Does this memory, object, or person fit in that picture, inspiring your best self? If not, leave it behind.

Key 4. Get help moving in
Don’t try to lift everything yourself. Discover who shows up to support you as you move to a new place in your life and who doesn’t. Surround yourself with a support network, and get expert advice when you find yourself unable to move on. If you’ve spent your life living according to other people’s desires, you might need help figuring out who you are and what you’re passionate about. A life and love “decorator” can help you discover your unique style and give you outside perspective on how your life will look to any man who shows up at your door.

Key 5. Throw a housewarming party
Invite friends and friends of friends. Meet new people and invite them in. When you live in a place of authenticity and passion, opening your life to others will help you meet men you really connect with. And it will build confidence in who you are and what you want. If you’re already seeing someone, invite him in too. Showing him your whole self with confidence and passion can inspire him to open up the door to his place as well.


You can’t wait around for love to knock on your door, especially if you’re not living a life you love. Let’s face it: A fortress has no curb appeal.

Make this the year you start living your best self every single day. Once you’re living every day in your inner dream house, you’ll find it much easier to invite men in. And the men who interest you will accept the invitation. The right one will be just as comfortable with every square foot as you are—even after he knows what’s hidden in your closets.

About Lori Pinkerton:
Author and speaker Lori Pinkerton is the dating and relationships expert for TV’s 180: Life and Style Makeovers and founder of Get Up and Date® (www.getupanddate.com). With her proven personalized approach, she shows women how to find the love they want and deserve—and have a great time along the way. Whether you’re looking for more in your current relationship, tired of endless bad dates, or unsure how to start dating again, Lori helps you live, laugh, and love your way to the relationship you’ve always dreamed of.

(EXCLUSIVE) "Lunch-Time Wife", a short story by author Samara

Lunch-time wife
A Short Story by Author Samara

Exclusive to the Feb./March 2011 issue of Conversations Magazine

Monday May 18, 2010
My nipples salute him as he passes me in the hallway.
“Congratulations, Samara. I read your book. I see that I did not make it there” said Lieutenant McGregor jokingly. My book “When the veil drops” is a personal memoir where I showered naked over the pages of the book. I pulled a Saint Augustine confessions style book, without the redemption part.
“Of course you did. It is the unpublished story titled Hallway picture.” I answered playfully.
He laughed and we got interrupted again. Every conversation between us is a still born child robbed from its happy life. Sometimes he has a chance of saying one word “Later”. I fell in love with his “later” promises.
Tuesday May 19, 2010
I run into Lieutenant McGregor at the gym today. Chief Laura saw me looking at him. She stopped me at the women’s locker room. “Hey Samara, I saw you looking at LT. today, give the guy a fighting chance.” She said as she was stepping into the shower. I smiled at her comment. I told Laura that somehow when I think of LT and myself getting sweaty together, the picture did not include two parallel treadmills. Laura laughed. She said: “You are not an Arabic teacher. You were hired to hijack American Men, one married man at a time.”
LT has a presence which enslaves me. He activates my dormant Arabic subservient women’s genes. I imagine myself taking off his shoes, washing his feet in lukewarm water and massaging his feet. I imagine myself becoming his Misyar wife or lunch-time wife. It is an Islamic practice called Misyar. It is a common practice in Gulf countries. Initially this practice started if a Muslim was on travel or away from home and still wanted sex. Now, it is still used especially for Thayeb (divorced women) who have no chance in landing single men for husbands. Once a woman loses her virginity in a first marriage she is considered used goods. All return goods must go half price. Unlike the regular second wife who has the right to equal time as the first wife, a Misyar wife can only see her husband during lunch time or during his travel.

Wednesday May 20, 2010
Today, I run into LT in the break room. He took one look at my feta cheese salad and said: “What are you eating? That does not look good.” He offered me his white looking sausage. “I don’t eat meat.” I answered him politely. He looked at me with penetrating eyes. His eyes said that he knew my lips could suck a juicy leg of lamb dry. He was right. I have sucked my fair share of succulent legs of lamb.
“I am just watching what I eat, so no meat for me.” I replied.
“Nonsense! You will be having my sausage today. Plus, Samara it is Trader’s Joe’s famous seafood sausage.” Said LT in his powerful commanding voice.
I ate his sausage. I insisted on washing the plate. I told him that men were not supposed to wash dishes. He turned a little red. He did an about-face and left the break room. I went to the bathroom to change my always pad. I was on overdrive.

Thursday May 21, 2010
I decided that I was not going to wait for LT. to make a move. I decided to call him.
He answered his phone: “Unit… LT… non secure line. Can I help you sir, ma’am?”
I wanted to ask for a secure line to launch my attack on him. I answered him trying to milk my French accent “Yes, as matter of fact you can. Can we have lunch sometimes?”
“We do have lunch sometimes. We had lunch yesterday” Lt. answered with a smile that I could see on the phone.
“I don’t want to have lunch in the break room.”
“Where do you want to have lunch?”
“I want to have lunch in my house.” I announced firmly.
“You want to have lunch in your house.” He repeated in disbelief.
“Yes, my house. I live close. I can cook for you.”
“Pick a place, any place and we can have lunch next Wednesday.”
“I picked a place, and you did not like it. You pick a place and email me”
He said Wednesday, hump day, was that a good sign? I wondered.

Friday May 22, 2010
Friday is always a good day at work. I was leaving early that Friday. Then I ran into LT on the stairs. “Look at you!” said LT.
I smiled. “Are all your sentences orders, sir?”
“Hey, are all your sentences questions? Women of all colors love their interrogatives. I know how to talk to Arab women and for you I use imperatives. Now tell me where you going looking like that”
“Today is the last day of the Opera season; I am going to see Madame Butterfly.”
“Wow, you like Opera. I always knew that you’re my Glenn Close.” said Lt.
When friends use a colloquial expression, I get this blank stare which denotes a small culture pothole. My exotic eyes look dumb when I have these blank stares. He noticed and explained. He said: “Samara, now you have your orders. Watch Fatal attraction and have a good weekend.”
I knew that I had to obey. That weekend my determination drove me all over town to find the movie. Other than the curly hair, I had nothing in common with Glenn Close. I hated that movie. How did a successful woman turn into an obsessed freaking rabbit killer?
On Monday, I got a phone message with the name of the restaurant. On Tuesday I was writing all kind of rated R scenarios for our first lunch.

Wednesday May 27, 2010
I had to go to lunch ten minutes late. I called him to apologize. He said that he was going to order food for me. I loved that. As I entered the restaurant, I saw him sitting with another man from a different office. I thought that was not the kind of ménage a trois, I liked. He introduced me to Bill. He said that he owed both of us lunches so he decided to treat us at the same time. I got the message. My dream officer turned out to be an officer and a gentleman. I stopped running into LT but I still look at his hallway picture.

© All rights reserved.

Samara is the author of the thought-provoking book WHEN THE VEIL DROPS. She can be reached by email at whentheveildrops@gmail.com.

Friday, February 25, 2011

PROFILE: Recording artist Billy Drease


By Cyrus Webb


Billy, when did you realize that you had a love of music?
I realized I had a love for music pretty early as 5 or so when I really think about it. My sister and I shared a room and my mother bought us a small Fisher-Price record player and it only played 45's if I remember correctly. One of the only records we had was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." I remember playing that thing over and over and there was a song on the flip side too, but i cant remember what it was. Along with that, my entire family were just big musical fans, almost the same as any other hip hop artist's, I came up listening to O'Jays, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire etc, while cleaning the house on the weekends. It wasn't until my mother brought home "Rapper's Delight" that I really caught-a-fire for music, more specifically Hip Hop. Thats when it all started clicking and the imagination of becoming a emcee began growing.

Looking back at it, at what point did you decide that this is something you wanted to do full-time?
I knew from that very moment when I couldn't get enough of hearing "Rapper's Delight" and I played it hundreds of times and memorized each line, rehearsing in the mirror with a hair brush in my hand. I hadn't even been to a concert or watched a rap video but I somehow imagined myself on stage performing. Actually, by the time I was finishing high school I was sure I was going to move to New York and become famous from rapping, but my mother had other plans. I actually wrote a few bars in this old song about her reaction when I told her I was going to become a rapper. "My mom laughed, cute as I was/ When I told her I was skipping out on college for the music I loved/ So i put it on hold as a sign of respect/ But now I think back kind of feeling regret." So, all through college, after college, after fully maturing as a man, working jobs and all of that, I just stayed stubbornly focused on doing this, which brings us here today. So, in short, I knew pretty early.

Billy, a great deal of your success has come from your online appeal. Can you tell our readers how you developed your marketing strategy?
My marketing strategy came about as a part of survival. It's said, that limitations are an architects best friend, as it forces them to become problem solvers. So, basically, since I didn't have the money and clout of a Major record label backing me, that could also cut the red-tape and get me into magazines and on TV and such, I looked at those facts as my limitations. With those limitations, the problem-solving began. What's free? What do we have control over? What can we really and realistically get our hands on? Who can we reach directly? There it is! The internet allows for all these aspects to be approached, addressed and even accomplished. Another thing my team and I planned was to scale back on trying to do what the major artists were doing, which was trying to reach everyone. We decided to concentrate on a smaller focus group. Fans are fickle and flighty in today's market more than ever, so after reading this article that my friend Clark sent me called, "1000 True Fans," by Kevin Kelly, it made me really start to think, that as an Indie artist, that's a good number to aim for, 1000 True Fans. 1000 people that will spread the word because they really, truly believe in the product. Those are the people that are in for the long haul. So thank those people for getting me this far.


Many recording artists see themselves as messengers. Is there a certain message you want to get out through your music?
I truly believe that music should be used as a vehicle. Where one chooses to drive and navigate that vehicle is up to them, but personally I'd rather take people on a personal journey of improvement, empowerment and discovery. I'm not the artist that makes junk, sells you a lemon-car and tells you it's the best thing smoking and have you end up on the shoulder of the road asking "How'd I get here?" My message is and always will be positive. Even when it isn't, I'm only reflecting a situation I lived through or watched or witnessed, but in the end I always try to shed light and provide wisdom or words for healing and recovery, all while trying to make the experience real, authentic and enjoyable.

You are the face of your business, Billy. How do you deal with the pressure that comes from selling yourself along with your product in such a competitive field?
I don't ever really feel any pressure. Ever. Being that I'm on the middle to low-mid tier in regards to being really recognized for my craft, I always feel a sense of empowerment when I see my larger and more successful peers doing something that I already did or even sharing the same artistic view. So when I see these other guys blow up, and it's an idea I used or have in the chamber ready to let off a round, I always think to myself, "See, if I was on that level, I KNOW this would work!" What I'm most comfortable in doing is just being me. Period. There's a saying, that I'll probably screw up, but it's like "If you tell the truth you never have to remember your lie." So, being that I'm being true to myself, I'm not putting on an act and I don't ever have to feel that I have much to explain. What I share is real and that's that. That makes me unique enough given the drama and acting that goes on in the music business. The argument is, "Hey, it's entertainment!" I dig that, but most of my favorite artists entertained through music and performance not through image and facade.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists who might look at you as an example of what they can accomplish?
The only advise I have is, compromise in business when you have to, meaning talking deals, money, numbers but never compromise yourself or your integrity. It's a harder lesson to recover from if you lose yourself in this nonsense. The other stuff, comes and goes.

Thanks for your time, Billy, and continued success to you. How can our readers find out more information about you and purchase your music?
Thank you for the interview. I'm actually feeling like Billy Drease is a pretty cool dude after answering these questions. All of my music is on iTunes. There are some FREE and exclusive downloads at www.billydrease.bandcamp.com as well. www.billydrease.com and of course facebook: http://www.facebook.com/billydreasewilliams

Michele Howe’s Prescription For Life…


Michele Howe’s Prescription For Life…
"What Stands Between You and the Surgery You Need?"


Imagine yourself lying on a bed in the pre-op area in your local hospital awaiting members of the surgical team to transport you into the operating room. Those final few minutes are generally filled with minor chitchat and maybe a hug from a loved one before they're ushered back out into the central waiting area as you're ushered in to the OR. You might be a little anxious, but overall, you're simply ready to get fixed and on your way to feeling better, healthier.

Then, the worst-case scenario occurs. Instead of a nurse arriving to escort you into the operating room, you receive a visit from the anesthesiologist who is there to inform you that your surgery has just been cancelled. You're shocked and your immediate thoughts wander naturally through various possible snags. Is there a problem with the surgeon? The attending staff? Some type of equipment failure? Maybe a sudden emergency situation that's taken priority over your scheduled procedure?

Truth is, it's none of the above. The unhappy expression found on the faces of your doctor, his surgical team, and the surrounding hospital staff, aren't due to anything within the realm of their control. Rather, yours. What was once an isolated event has grown into a burgeoning problem in hospitals and medical clinics across the country. In more ways than one, a patient's weight (excessive weight, that is) is causing more surgeries to be cancelled last minute because of the potential (and frequently life-threatening) risk to the patient.

Used to be when you heard the news that you'd need to undergo a surgical procedure, a patient would necessarily consider the who, what, where, when and how's. Today though, it isn't the physician, nor is it an insurance company, or even the technology that's standing in the way of some surgeries. The question being asked nowadays is a weight-related one. It is troubling that for a growing number of patients the most problematic obstacle to getting better rests solely on their shoulders (and on the rest of their body). Unfortunately, it is their own excess weight that's holding these overweight men, women, and children hostage from overall good health and even more criminally, from receiving urgent medical care of the direst lifesaving sort.

There are some individuals who naively voice minimizing this issue of epidemic proportions [Two thirds of Americans are now either overweight (defined as a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher) or obese (A 30-plus BMI)], stating that it doesn't affect them personally. These particular obese persons believe they can be simultaneously both overweight and healthy. However, no one can convincingly argue that if sudden urgent medical care is required that the obese are on a level playing field concerning surgical risks as their normal-weighted counterparts and the statistics prove it.

The fact is, none of us can anticipate when an emergency medical situation will occur requiring immediate surgery. Nobody plans on getting into an auto accident or injured on the job, but it happens every day, in every city across our nation. And in comparatively similar fashion, a frightening number of patient casualties occur when medical professionals are forced to refuse treatment to people because the risk is simply too great pre-operatively, during surgery, and post-operatively.


If you are now numbered among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, you'll want to pay particular attention to the conversation you have with your doctor before scheduling surgery of any kind. As you sit in front of your physician and he informs you that you'll need to undergo a surgical procedure consider closely what he's telling you as well as what he isn't. Your surgeon will explain that because of your excess weight you are at an increased risk for anesthesia complications, blood clots, wound problems and your rehabilitation experience will likely be more difficult and longer in duration than normal-weight persons. If you're having a joint replacement surgery, you can almost count on the appliance wearing out prematurely as well (anyone seeing a follow-up surgery in their future?).

As if these warnings weren't tough enough to swallow, take this solemn conversation a step further and inside the real mind workings of your doctor. What he may not tell you because it's so discouraging to him as the medical professional whose job it is to heal you (and as the primary directive from which he operates both literally and figuratively); is what he's seen transpire in case after case in previous obese patients under his care. As your physician is speaking, remember he's also running a mental dialogue though his mind of how your surgery (as an obese patient) will differ from a normal-weighted patient. He, as the operating surgeon, knows the difference and you, as the patient, should too because this difference is huge.

From your surgeon's perspective, he has no choice but to accept the additional risks and challenges of operating on someone whose very weight makes it exponentially harder to perform his job (fixing you) from a purely technical standpoint. Doctors report that they frequently encounter morbidly obese people telling them, they (the patients), are willing to accept the increased risk for complication without a thought for the difficulty that their surgeons will encounter during the procedure as well as what this increased risk for complication means to the physician as the responsible party. There appears to be a mistaken assumption among some obese patients that their weight is not a factor that might affect their surgeon's ability to perform the intricacies required during any medical procedure. Similarly, some other patients falsely believe that their surgery can be executed with the same ease as a patient of normal weight.

Patients must also understand that weight-related health risks are alive and well even before an individual enters the operating room doors. Excess weight puts a patient at a disadvantage even before surgery is scheduled as extra fat can render some clinical tests ineffective at detecting potential and existing health problems. Amy Parham, weight loss participant on The Bigger Loser television show, remembers her wake-up call after viewing her Dexa Scan for the first time. She recognized at that moment how her extra pounds were punishing her organs and lungs hour by hour, day after day. "It was eye opening to see that the fat was not something that was not only keeping me from buttoning my smaller pants, but it was also shoving my organs around and prohibiting them from working properly. Even my lungs were so compressed I couldn't breath well." Parham realized that as much as she hated how fat looks on the outside, "It is the fat that we don't see, (on the inside) that is killing us."

Beyond the above risk complications already cited, your doctor knows that your surgical outcome may not be what you're expecting because even with the most skilled surgeon working on your behalf, your excess weight will continue to hinder mobility and range of motion post-operatively. No matter what side of the surgery table you're on, both doctor and patient enter the situation at a disadvantage because both are fighting to overcome weighty odds of the most costly kind. Obesity isn't a lifestyle gamble worth playing with; it's a risky venture whose stakes will continue to rise to life and death proportions with every pound gained. A life and death risk Parham came to understand, "I believe that many times vanity is the motivation for wanting to lose weight, but people need to wake up and realize that they are playing Russian roulette with their lives by the choices they make. I was slowly killing myself and didn't even know it."



Michele Howe is a women’s health and lifestyle writer as well as the host of the weekly segment “Prescription For Life” on Conversations LIVE. You can find out more information about her at http://michelehowe.wordpress.com/.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

REVIEW: "What My Husband Doesn't Know", new play by David E. Talbert


by Cyrus Webb (with Katonya Davis)

(Wednesday, February 23, 2011) When it comes to giving audiences good entertainment with a powerful message, few are able to present such messages like writer/director David E. Talbert. Whether it is on stage or presented for telelvision you can't help but see the care and attention that he pays to each aspect of the creation. The new play "What My Husband Doesn't Know" is no different.

I got a chance to see this play while it was in Jackson, MS Feb. 18th and 19th. At its core, "What My Husband Doesn't Know" is about a woman (played by singer/songwriter Michele Williams of Destiny's Child fame) who seemingly has everything: a husband (played by actor Clifton Davis) that adores her and showers her with everything as well as a lifestyle that is the envy of many. What does seem to be missing, however, is the affection and attention that she so desperately craves.

Due to her being in a vulnerable state, the door is open for someone else to enter the picture (actor Brian White)---and that's where things really start to get dangerous yet interesting.

What really got me about the play as it evolved are the different stereotypes that Talbert was able to not only dispel but bring to the light for some real conversation. First being the thought that money can make you happy. Second would be that all men are cheaters and unfaithful while the woman is always the victim. And lastly what I really appreciated was the realization that our actions can have far-reaching consequences, both good and bad.

There is something in this play for everyone: drama, suspense, humor, great songs (though not too many to take away from the overall message) and the stars that so many clamor for and can't wait to see more of. I think regardless of what brings you to the movie, you can't help but take something away from it that you will remember, share and reflect on long after you leave the theatre.

To see when "What My Husband Doesn't Know" will be in your area, visit www.davidetalbert.com.

Cyrus Webb is the host of Conversations LIVE Radio and the Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine. He can be reached at cawebb4@juno.com, 601.896.5616 or www.cyruswebb.com.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Conversations Magazine: Feeding Your Love Of Life


On behalf of Shadow Play Entertainment, thank you for making Conversations Magazine a must-read in circles around the United States. When radio and tv personality Cyrus Webb first began the magazine in April 2006, he hoped to share his love of books with the world. However, as his radio and tv shows expanded, so did his desire to let others experience what he was seeing and hearing.




(seen here is Pamela and Joel Tuck of Boyertown, PA, authors of COLOR STRUCK)

The result is the revamped Conversations Magazine which debuted in Dec. 2010 It's motto? Feeding your love of life! Through it, Webb is showcasing the best in the arts, entertainment, fashion, food and more. Though he is still the Editor-In-Chief, Webb is joined by an ecclectic group of contributors that add their own flavor and personality to the publication. Author Michele Howe (host of Prescription For Life on Conversations LIVE), Home Chef Bruce Tretter (host of Quick and Easy Cooking on Conversations LIVE), sports contributor Herschel DIxon, Entertainment contributor Stanley Clark, fashion designer/stylist Gail Ambeau (host of Fashion Forward on Conversations LIVE) and Toya Bryant of Disconnect U are all regulars on the team, with the covers being designed by the multi-talented recording artist/graphic designer Chris Ervin aka Dj Down South.

As of today, there are 500 individuals in over 30 states who have signed up for the yearly subscription (12 issues) of Conversations Magazine, however the Dec./Jan. 2011 has sold almost 2,000 copies to date! For Webb, the challenge has been keeping up the demand of the magazine, but he knows this is just another way that people are uniting and staying informed.




Author Arlene Radasky, a subscriber in Goleta, CA had this to say about the appeal of the publication: "This is a vibrant, information filled magazine that is centered around learning about authors and their inspiring words, and musicians and the music in their hearts. The in-depth conversations give me a feeling of getting to know the person being interviewed. The questions are ones I would ask and I learned from each one and I've even been inspired to listen to some hip hop music.

"Through Conversations,Cyrus Webb has created another path to Literacy allowing everyone a touch of what is interesting to them, and a curiosity to read and listen."

Continue to stay abreast of what Conversations Magazine has to offer at www.conversationsmag.com. There you can purchase all the single issues now available or sign up for the affordable yearly subscription for only $24.99. Interested in being featured or advertising in Conversations Magazine? Contact Cyrus Webb at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Actor/Author/Recording Artist Tray Chaney Previews New Video Before MTV Jamz Release

by Cyrus Webb


(Friday, February 11, 2011) After making his mark as a celebrated tv star on the HBO series The Wire and publishing his autobiography, the multi-talented Tray Chaney is showcasing his skills as a recording artist in the first video off his mixtape 'Jack of All Trays' with the single "Life on Film".

"We're excited about the world seeing the video and the message of the song," says Chaney. He recently sat down with MTV News to talk about his music and what he hopes listeners will take away from the mixtape. "This is not just my official introduction to the music industry. It's a way for them to see my life in the public eye the way it actually is."

Chaney features on the single "Life on Film" which stars recording artist D. Rose. It is set to premier on MTV Jamz later this month. This newest venture includes stepping into the world of music as a writer, producer, and rapper. He has established his own production company "Firedrop Music Group" with his long time friend and business partner Don Cox.

Preview "Life on Film" on Youtube.com now and look for the premier on MTV soon!

For more information about Tray Chaney and his upcoming projects, visit http://traychaney.tumblr.com.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

(Feb. 18-19, 2011) Mississippi Welcomes Author M. Beatryce Shaw


(Feb. 18-19, 2011) Mississippi Welcomes Author M. Beatryce Shaw

(Feb. 18-19, 2011) Mississippi welcomes children's book author M. Beatryce Shaw. Her visit is being hosted by media personality Cyrus Webb of Conversations Book Club and will include something for people of all ages.

Shaw has written two books, Mr. Browne's Roses and Mr. Browne and the Rose Show (published by Tate Publishing), both of which address the issues of overcoming prejudice, embracing individuality and the importance of getting to know someone before you make a judgement about them.
 
Since Conversations Book Club began in Nov. 2006, the multicultural co-ed reading group has hosted events not just in Mississippi but with its chapters in Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama as well. Shaw makes the 94th author the group has hosted since it began.
 
Webb believes that the books Shaw has written are great for children who are often the target of taunts and bullying but also for adults who might be looking for a way to discuss such sensitive topics with their child.

Below is Shaw's public schedule for her first literary visit to the Magnolia State:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011
* 9-11a.m., visit with Headstart in Pelahatchie, MS
* 1-3p.m., Pearl Public Library (2416 Old Brandon Rd * Pearl, MS)
* 4-5p.m., Story Hour @ Medgar Evers Library (4215 Medgar Evers Blvd * Jackson, MS)
* 6-7p.m., Meet & Greet/Booksigning @ Appetizers (3000 Hwy 80 * Pearl, MS)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2011
* 9:30-11a.m., Breakfast w/Books @ Subway Restaurant (112 Service Dr. * Brandon, MS)
* 1-3p.m., Pearl Public Library (2416 Old Brandon Rd * Pearl, MS)
* 6-7p.m., Meet & Greet/Booksigning @ Appetizers (3000 Hwy 80 * Pearl, MS)

Admission to all events is free. For more information about events scheduled with author M. Beatryce Shaw, contact Cyrus Webb at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616. You can also visit www.thebestbookclub.info. To discover more about the author, visit
www.schoonerpublications.com

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fashion Designer/ MS Resident Gail Ambeau Heads To Fashion Week


Fashion Designer & Jackson, MS Resident Gail Ambeau Heads To Fashion Week

by Cyrus Webb

(Monday, February 7, 2011) For Fashion designer/stylist Gail Rayford Ambeau, this week marks another milestone in her remarkable journey. The Jackson,MS resident will be making her way to New York on Friday, February 11, 2011 to attend the Mercedes Benz fashion week events.

"For the past 5 years I've been saying I'm going to fashion week," says Ambeau "I didn't know how or when but, I knew I was going! Well that time is here. I am so excited. I really have no words. I'm just so thankful!"

The invitation to attend the events came through the Academy of Art University of which Ambeau is a student in their MFA Fashion program. In fact, it is the only school that participates in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

"I'll have a chance to see what it's really about, Ambeau says, but she is certain this will be only the first trip to the coveted event. "I'm telling you now... in a few years I'll be back at fashion week except the next time I go I'll be the one showing."

Find out more about Ambeau's designs and her bio at www.gailrayfordambeau.com. She can also be reached at askambeau@aol.com and 601.500.0937.