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Monday, August 20, 2012

New Issue of Conversations Features Kenny Lattimore, Towanda Braxton, More

Conversations Media Group is pleased to announce that the new issue of Conversations Magazine is available and features individuals who are showcasing their talents and sharing valuable tips on a successful life.

"It's exciting to be able to share these amazing stories," says Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine. "Each individual has something to share that I believe will not only inspire us in our own lives but showcase what is possible for all of us."

The August/September issue features interviews with recording artists Kenny Lattimore, Zeek, Camero (BET's Reed Between The Lines) and Towanda Braxton (Braxton Family Values), actors Jacqueline Fleming (Contraband and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Leif Gantvoort (Desperate Housewives and The Amazing Spiderman) and more.

The issue can be purchased now for $6.99, shipping included at or at the button below.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

[Books] Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox

Like her art, Marilyn Monroe was rooted in paradox: She was a powerful star and a childlike waif; a joyful, irreverent party girl with a deeply spiritual side; a superb friend and a narcissist; a dumb blonde and an intellectual. No previous biographer has recognized -- much less attempted to analyze -- most of these aspects of her personality. Lois Banner has.

Since Marilyn's death in August of 1962, the appetite for information about her has been insatiable. Biographies of Marilyn abound, and whether these books are sensational or flawed, Marilyn's fans have always come out in bestselling numbers. This time, with Lois Banner's Revelations, the fans won't be disappointed. This is no retread of recycled material. As one of the founders of the field of women's history, Banner will reveal Marilyn Monroe in the way that only a top-notch historian and biographer could.

Like many others I have always been fascinated by the mystique surrounding the woman who would become Marilyn Monroe. I had watched programs on television about her and the life she lived, but Lois Banner's book on the icon is probably one of the best accounts I have personally read.

The book allows you to see her through the many chapters of her life: the good, the bad and the times when it seems as though all was lost. What I never thought of before reading the book is how much the life of Marilyn Monroe mirrors that of so many of us. Here was a woman born into a world with little prospect of anything special happening to her, and she was able to remake herself into someone who was not only desired by many but envied by the world. Think of what she was overcame: the abuse, feelings of worthlessness and insecurities and then fast-forward to what she became. It is truly remarkable.

The glamorous existence came with a price, though, and Banner does a great job of balancing it all. There were many revelations about Marilyn's personal life that I hadn't know before, but the account again paints a more detailed portrait of a tortured soul who really just wanted to be loved.

Some will always see her as the over-the-top sexy siren ahead of her time. Others will see her as a reckless creature destroyed by fame. I believe, though, that many will see possibility in the Marilyn we get to me: A woman who was able to become what she wanted, create the life that she wanted and lived the life that she wanted, in spite of the consequences.

This book might not present the Marilyn you have heard about, but it presents the complexity of the one who lived, loved and lost in the public and will be remembered forever. - caw

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Actor Leif Gantvoort: Crazy In Love with the Craft

by Cyrus Webb

For over a decade Leif Gantvoort has been able to share not only his skills as an actor but his ability to tell a story with the world. Doing so has taken him into roles that have been dramatic and at times humorous but through it all they allowed him to do what he loves: bringing stories to life.

His fans have followed him over the years through roles on Desperate Housewives and Justified but in 2012 they found him as the villain Glasses in the blockbuster movie The Amazing Spiderman.

Talking with Leif about his journey that has led to being a part of one of the summer's biggest movies was not only entertaining and informative but inspiring as well.

"As a kid I liked the attention acting got me," Leif shared with me. "Just being the focus of attention. He went on, though, to share that "it can be a hard thing to undertake... It's not a forgiving line of work."

His fans haven't seen him in a while, and Leif talked about what that can be like for someone who loves to create. "It's frustrating at times, fulfilling at times, but the good moments make up for the bad ones." He then added: "I love it. It has to be a love, because if it's not a love you'll totally go crazy."

I asked him about that love and when you are able to work how it makes him feel. "It's just something that clicks and feels right when you're doing it," he says. "That's what keeps you coming back." Leif also feels as though it was what he was born to do. He explained it by saying that acting is "everything that I want it to be. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of when it happens."

When we began to talk about Spiderman and what it was like to be a part of such a respected franchise, you could hear the excitement almost leap in his voice. "Every step of it was a surprise," he says. I was excited to be a part of something like this [movie]. Everyone was so great to work with." Reflecting on the fact that not all productions can be as well organized and a joy, Leif tole me "When it happens you're so pleasantly surprised. Every day of your life you want to be a part of that."

Noting his great sense of humor and how he has been able to make use of that on stage, I asked him if it helped not to take himself too seriously. "At the end of the day in this industry you're telling stories," Leif says. "It's fun. Even when it's dead serious it's fun."

One part that doesn't seem to fit with him as well is the red carpet appearance. I asked if he has gotten used to being photographed and analyzed as is custom in the business he's in. "I don't think it can ever be normal," he told me, but I do think the more you do the more you realize it's a part of the job." The way he gets through it? Realizing it is "one of those things you have to do."

Leif gave some great advice for those who look to the industry for their own profession. "I really feel as though I'm on the clock 24 hours a day. I write, direct to try to keep my focus and keep my drive going." He also reminds us all of the human aspect of the work. "You can't walk on set and leave who you are at the door. Not everything is Spiderman. Everything is not a joy. It's not predictable. Every day is a new point of view."

To stay in touch with Leif and his next chapter visit him online at You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

[Books] Remembering Lefty Gomez

Born to a small-town California ranching family, the youngest of eight, Vernon “Lefty” Gomez rode his powerful arm and jocular personality right across America to the dugout of the New York Yankees. Lefty baffled hitters with his blazing fastball, establishing himself as the team’s ace. He vacationed with Babe Ruth, served as Joe DiMaggio’s confidant, and consoled Lou Gehrig the day the “Iron Horse” removed himself from the lineup. He started and won the first-ever All-Star Game, was the first pitcher to make the cover of Time magazine, and barnstormed Japan as part of Major League Baseball’s grand ambassadorial tour in 1934. Away from the diamond, Lefty played the big-city bon vivant, marrying Broadway star June O’Dea and hobnobbing with a who’s who of celebrities, including George Gershwin, Jack Dempsey, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, George M. Cohan, and James Michener. He even scored a private audience with the pope.

And even when his pro ball career was done, Lefty wasn’t. He became a national representative for Wilson Sporting Goods, logging over 100,000 miles a year, spreading the word about America’s favorite game, and touching thousands of lives. In 1972 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Three baseball fields are named for him, and to this day the top honor bestowed each year by the American Baseball Coaches Association is the Lefty Gomez Award.

Now, drawing on countless conversations with Lefty, interweaving more than three hundred interviews conducted with his family, friends, competitors, and teammates over the course of a decade, and revealing candid photos, documents, and film clips—many never shown publicly—his daughter Vernona Gomez and her award-winning co-author Lawrence Goldstone vividly re-create the life and adventures of the irreverent southpaw fondly dubbed “El SeƱor Goofy” in the new book LEFT: An American Odyssey.

Conversations LIVE host Cyrus Webb interviewed Gomez and Goldstone about the book, and shared how the book resonated with him as someone who knew little about Gomez but was able to take a great deal from his back-story as shared in the book. "I was really surprised how someone who was larger than life had a resonance with me and I know so many others," says Webb. The interview also centered around what Gomez hoped all individuals would learn about her father and how he was able to help bring people together through a sport that he loved.

“I’d rather be lucky than good,” Lefty Gomez once quipped—one of many classic one-liners documented here. In the end he was both. A star-studded romp through baseball’s most glorious seasons and America’s most glamorous years, Lefty is at once a long-overdue reminder of a pitcher’s greatness and a heartwarming celebration of a life well-lived.

Find out more about Lefty and the book at LEFT: An American Odyssey is available at your favorite bookstore or your favorite online retailer. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

R. Dwayne Betts Uses Life Lessons To Advocate For Change


 R. Dwayne Betts Uses Life Lessons To Advocate For Change
Media Contact:           Cyrus Webb, Director of Publicity
                                       Nebo Publishing

With the decision by the Supreme Court to strike down mandatory life-without-parole sentences for people under 18 years old, individuals like R. Dwayne Betts have been taking advantage of the opportunity to bring attention to the need to rehabilitate offenders, making sure they are productive citizens of society and helping others along the way. Betts, a member of President Obama's Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice knows what it's like to be on the other side of the law. Though many have gotten to know him as a motivational speaker and author of A QUESTION OF FREEDOM along with SHAHID READS HIS OWN PALM, at the age of 16 he was sentenced to eight years in jail for carjacking.

Today Betts is able to use his own transformation in life to showcase what is not only possible for others but what we can do to ensure that those who commit crimes as juveniles get the help they need to emerge as better individuals than when they were sent to prison. Though sympathetic to the victims of juveniles who committed crimes, Betts believes that the judicial system must keep in mind this fact: Juveniles are different from adults. In a recent article published by The Daily Beast, he wrote this: "Their (meaning juveniles)  potential for change, for growth, for understanding, is greater. If our system is not, ultimately, to be based on vengeance, we need to recognize that potential of change, and give it the opportunity to take place (June 26, 2012)."

It is this belief that has led Betts to be an advocate for those who feel as though they have lost their voice or were never heard in the beginning. Though the Supreme Court's ruling was monumental, he knows that citizens have to remain vigilant if they are going to continue to see real change and progress in the Juvenile Justice system.
Among his other accomplishments R. Dwyane Betts is currently serving as the Poetry Editor for Nebo Publishing. For more information about Betts and his upcoming projects visit

For bookings or speaking engagement contact Charles Clark  at or 1.716.239.4370, ext. 101.