February 27, 2014
Finding a way to do it better than others is not going to be hard this week. Share your wisdom with other seekers. All who receive your word will benefit this week. Happiness rules! Don’t waste a moment of this perfect week on any negative thoughts. Soul Affirmation: I give myself a chance to see all the good I can see in others. Lucky Numbers: 36, 38, 55
Strong vibrations bring a series of dramatic interactions with others this week. Practice your charm. Let it come from the heart, and let your energy carry you upwards to your best, highest self. Keep emotions calm. Let the warmth from inside of you touch others and thereby make your world better. Soul Affirmation: I go within and find what I’ve been searching outside myself to find. Lucky Numbers: 13, 29, 34
You’ll be energizing and inspiring others this week as you speak what’s on your mind regarding spiritual matters and masters. The quality of your thoughts is very pure; write yourself a love letter. Move slowly with explanations. Others will not understand as quickly as you think they should. Soul Affirmation: The truth that finds me is the truth I’ve been seeking. Lucky Numbers: 20, 27, 31
Rev up your engines. This is a fine week for making progress with projects that you’ve got in the works. Your energy is high and your mind is clear. Use every advantage this week to finish up your works. Look for love in the right places. Know the difference between love and lust. Soul Affirmation: I forgive and set myself free. Lucky Numbers: 19, 26, 39
Educate those around you in the area of personal growth. Their improvement will bring benefits to you. Humor in communication is the key. Humor in introspection is a must. Soul Affirmation: Success that has been following me is trying to catch up. Lucky Numbers: 16, 30, 39
This week romance is begins to percolate. Enjoy your feelings and let your brain relax. Suspend all judgments of others. Being stern won’t work for you this week. Soul Affirmation: I go along to get along. Lucky Numbers: 1, 6, 19
Romance will find you this week. Don’t be looking the other way. Your “rap” is especially strong. Make as many of those important phone calls as possible. People will respond. They are waiting to be receptive, Soul Affirmation: Friendships are shock absorbers on the bumpy roads of life. Lucky Numbers: 11, 13, 20
This week should bring an opportunity to further your education, don’t pass it up. Pay special attention to details at work. A friend needs your support. Find joy in giving it. Soul Affirmation: All things work together for good. Lucky Numbers: 26, 35, 43
You and your mate should increase your saving for the future this week. Future plans should be spotlighted. A relationship is likely to take a serious turn. Be open to making an unusual purchase. Soul Affirmation: I can see clearly now the rain is gone. There are no obstacles in my way. Lucky Numbers: 10, 30, 50
Don’t take any big gambles this week, the time is not right for a flight into the unknown. A newfound harmony is in store for you and your mate. Your mate will understand your fears. Soul Affirmation: New insights create new directions and a new cast of characters. Lucky Numbers: 6, 48, 51
The air can be cleared easily. Admit your need for help. Seek understanding. You’ll help another by seeking help from them. Communication problems will smooth themselves out. Soul Affirmation: Moving slowly might be the fastest way. Lucky Numbers: 33, 52, 54
You and your partner are on the same wavelength. If you are presented with a contract this week, it’s an ideal week to reach an agreement. Make the important phone call to set things up. Soul Affirmation: What I’ve been waiting for has been here all along. Lucky Numbers: 4, 6, 33
LAWT Wire Services
New York, NY – Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) held its 2014 Vision 2014Gala on February 25th at Cipriani 42 in New York City.
As Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrates its 45th Anniversary, this year’s gala was themed “Live the Moment” and raised $700,000, $75,000 of which resulted from the entertaining live auction conducted by Audrey Smaltz,with the proceeds benefitting the DTH School’s Next Generation and Community Engagement Funds.
Honorees were Grammy Award-winning recording artist Patti LaBelle with the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award; dance educator and arts advocate Jody Gottfried Arnhold with The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Medal; and Goldman, Sachs & Co. senior partner Valentino D. Carlotti with the inaugural Virtuoso Award.
The evening’s honorary chair was Billy Joel (not in attendance).
There were performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem School to “Over the Rainbow,” choreographed by School Director Endalyn Taylor; a preview of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company’s forthcoming spring season at Jazz at Lincoln Centerwith an excerpt from “The Pas de Dix from Raymonda;” as well as a special tribute performance by the Company to Ms. LaBelle, choreographed by resident choreographer Robert Garland.
However, the surprise performance of the evening was from “Lady Marmalade” herself when she ended her acceptance speech with an acapella rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” with opera singer Jessye Norman joining her, along with the entire audience, in singing amen.
“I can dance, but they dance like angels,” said LaBelle during her acceptance speech, referring to the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company tribute performance. “This is my 52nd year in this business called show and to be honored by the Dance Theatre of Harlem for their 45th year anniversary, I feel so blessed, so honored,” she continued during a short dinner break in the program.
Nearly 400 corporate sponsors, supporters, friends, alumni and members of the board attended the event, including journalist Paula Zahn, Malaak Compton Rock, Kimberly Chandler, Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether, Isiah and Lynne Thomas; Miss New York City 2014 KiraKazantsev, philanthropists Samuel Peabody, Judith M. Hoffman, Jean Shafiroff, Beverly D’Anne and Guy Mognaz.
“It was a very special evening that brought together the tremendous talent and expertise of our Company dancers and the great potential in our DTH school students. What a perfect celebration of the past 45 years of Dance Theatre of Harlem, to see the legendary Patti LaBelle take the stage to receive the Arthur Mitchell Vision Award from our longtime board member Jessye Norman, and to say thank you to honorees Valentino D. Carlotti and Jody Gottfried Arnhold for all that they’ve done for Dance Theatre of Harlem, the arts and education,” says Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director.
Members of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Board of Directors were also on hand for the star-studded celebration, including Chairman of the Board Kendrick Ashton, Jr., Gala Committee Chair Leslie Wims Morris, along with board membersAlpha Mom’s Isabel Kallman, DTH Vice Chairman of the Board Michael Armstrong, Trey Muldrow, Kevin Cofsky, Zandra Perry Ogbomo, and AliyaLeeKong.
Among the Vision Gala’s sponsors were Jody and John Arnhold; Goldman Sachs & Co; American Express; Siris Capital Group, LLC; Isabel and Craig Kallman; GiftCards.com; CenterLight Healthcare; Disney; Fried Frank; and Akin Gump. The gala reception was sponsored by BET Networks. “We are thrilled and very grateful for the wonderful support shown by so many corporations and individuals,” remarked Laveen Naidu, Executive Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem. “This gala helps make it possible for Dance Theatre of Harlem to continue making a difference around the world with our performances, community engagement and education programs.”
Paramount is in final talks to acquire domestic distribution rights to “Selma,” the long in-the-works feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement, and Oprah Winfrey has boarded the project as producer.
Ava DuVernay, who came aboard the project in July, rewrote the original script by Paul Webb and slipped it to Winfrey, who sparked to DuVernay’s rewrite, according to Deadline.com.
This marks the second MLK project that Winfrey is overseeing. Her Harpo production company is also behind a seven-part HBO miniseries “America: In the King Years.”
According to Deadline, the plan is to get “Selma” in front of cameras as soon as possible. Lining up a domestic deal and a name of Winfrey’s caliber were key to getting the ball rolling, and when the deal goes through, production is expected to start right away. Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson are already aboard as producers.
Winfrey’s presence both on and off the screen was a big reason “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” did so well overseas, according to Deadline. The film has grossed $167.7 million to date — more than $50 million of that internationally. This gives “Selma” a leg up on the other two major MLK features that are percolating. Oliver Stone last month saw a script rewrite on his King biopic rejected by DreamWorks and Warner Bros, and it caused him to back out of the project. Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass still isn’t ready to move on his biopic “Memphis” that he plans to make with Scott Rudin.
By Kam Williams
At first blush, “The Bag Man” reads a lot like “The Transporter,” the 2002 action film about a courier hired by a mobster to deliver a mysterious package without opening it. After all, the title character of this adventure has been asked by a crime boss to pick up a bag for him without examining its contents.
However, besides sharing that basic premise, the two pictures don’t have all that much in common. Where The Transporter is a special-effects adventure peppered with car chases and pyrotechnics, “The Bag Man” is a relatively-cerebral affair, a multi-layered mystery featuring unpredictable twists and turns as a well as a femme fatale with inscrutable intentions.
At the point of departure, we find a powerful gangster named Dragna (Robert De Niro) aboard his private plane where he’s giving very precise instructions to the protagonist. Jack’s (John Cusack) assignment is to take possession of an ostensibly priceless satchel and then wait for Dragna inside Room 13 at a seedy motel located somewhere in the country.
Of course, this proves easier said than done, when a cornucopia of colorful characters commence to covet the very valise he’s been asked to protect. The fun starts when Jack’s shot in the hand by Bishop (Danny Cosmo), the gangster who just handed him the package.
Then, while checking in, he alarms the paraplegic desk clerk (Crispin Glover) by assuming the suspicious name “Smith” and by paying in cash. Next, he has to deal with curious cops who have decided to stake out the premises.
But his biggest challenge of all is presented by Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), a gorgeous damsel-in-distress on the run from a couple of goons herself. Will the scantily-clad stranger in need of a knight in shining armor be Jack’s undoing?
That’s the burning question for the balance of the madcap, high body-count adventure once the two opt to join forces.
An intriguing enough whodunit to keep you guessing, thanks to a decent script and game performances by De Niro, Cusack and newcomer Rebecca Da Costa.
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for violence, sexuality and profanity
Running time: 108 minutes
Distributor: Cinedigm Entertainment
To see a trailer for The Bag Man, visit:
February 20, 2014
By: Edward Rice, III
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Reimaging the established business functions of a worldwide entertainment conglomerate is a huge undertaking to say the least. When, FOX Executive Nicole Bernard was identified for such a task, she was initially cautious and for good reason.
“FOX Audience Strategy was launched three years ago. I was asked to take on this role and in doing so I coined the term that named the department ‘audience strategy’,” recalls the Senior Vice President of Audience Strategy. “The thinking behind the department was the chairman’s need, his recognition that the domestic demographics in this country were changing so dramatically and his thoughts were ‘how can we create content for and distribute content to audiences we don’t know?’ The demographics are shifting so drastically that if we don’t find the most strategic and engaging way to not only find out who they are and engage them around our brand then our businesses will be in trouble. It’s really about business growth.”
The result is an innovative approach to a required business initiative that will perhaps reshape the way the industry looks at inclusion.
“We set about thinking about a business operating unit that would align from a business perspective core community values with our business interests. That was very important to me because originally what I thought was being offered to me was a traditional diversity job and I was not interested in that,” said the DC native.
To clarify, Nicole explained that while she continues to believe in the ideal and the platform of diversity, she simply was not impressed with the mechanisms and the initiatives that in her opinion seemed to fall flat.
“I just thought the approach had become antiquated, outgrown. It became more of a “tail wagging the dog” situation where now the viewer, consumers, the masses, the marketplace are this and the only place it looks different are businesses,” claims Bernard.
According to the Howard University graduate and mother of twins, the ultimate goal is to engage broader audiences because that is the business equivalent to growth.
“You want more people watching, buying, and downloading what it is you’re creating. No matter what vernacular is used to describe them and that’s this very big pool, which is people” she stated. “So the question is how do we create opportunities to engage people across our businesses in ways that truly serve as resources for those businesses? As I thought about it this was going to be the bases of what we’re charged with.”
Proposing diversity as a tool to expand the current audience appeared to be a savvy business strategy but as the Fox executive soon discovered the concept was more difficult for some to grasp than expected.
“I had friends and colleagues who work in more traditional diversity and inclusion departments say to me, ‘Nicole don’t you think this is going to be confusing?’ And this came at the height of my comfort level letting me know I was on the right track of moving away from this idea not just in name alone but theory,” she insisted. “I said in return, ‘What’s so confusing about audience strategy to you? Why would you think it’s confusing? And the response I received was how will people know where to go when there’s a problem? And I said therein lies the issue. If you view diversity as a repository for problems that’s why people’s eyes glaze over and all the initiatives feel like lip service; because in essence you’re teeing up your business to be a repository for problems. As opposed to how I look at it, it’s a platform for opportunity. Diversity by its true definition simply means more. An array of…isn’t that what we’re here to do, galvanize more? We want business growth. That’s what it’s all about.” She continued, “That’s when it became clear to me that audience strategy would act as a resource—a repository for opportunity, a resource for all of our businesses.”
NEXT STEPS: The Real Value Add
“Our division works across all the entertainment properties,” Bernard explained. “So my role grew to creating a department that would service all of the FOX entertainment businesses, which include all of the broadcast, cable, sports, digital, tv and film entities.”
With limited staff and budget at her disposal, providing such a specific service to such a broad cross section of businesses was going to be a challenge. Thus, one of her very first tasks was determining the need.
“I went in and interviewed all the chairmen and we spoke about the shifting demographics in America,” said Bernard. “I would hear a lot for example, ‘We saw the 2010 census and what do you think we should be doing to galvanize Hispanics around box office or how do we drive more Hispanic viewership to our programming at the network…how do we engage them?’ The first thing I said is to stop having an us vs. them conversation and realize that this IS your general market now,” she said passionately. “Hearing these conversations informed us on what the need was; a resource is only a resource to the extent that it’s servicing a need. What we realized is that we have to start with a perception shift. Work on shifting perceptions within the four corners of the studio about what true and authentic engagement is—not the patronizing outreach, which is a one sided communication where its, ‘look at us you underserved people and we’re here to help you’ but in fact we need you because without you, we don’t exist.”
What ensued according to Nicole, became a conversation about engagement. “When we thought about it we broke it down into needs and recognized that perception shifts lead the charge there. If we change the way people think about things (even though a lot of times they don’t realize they think about it in this way) that they stop seeing diverse as remedial or “green” or a nicety or a social conversation that we must do and have and turn it into an opportunity to engage with more people who are not so different, they’re just people,” she said. “Now it’s a business conversation, now you’re looking at the bottom line because you’re broadening your audience, which means more. You increase your viewership, you increase your consumers, you increase your ad revenues, and it increases your bottom line. This is not a social conversation.”
“We decided we would bring to the studio in general or to specific businesses, really innovative strategic partners who could service, let’s say the film business with really dynamic opportunities to market to bigger audiences that nobody had thought about before,” she claimed. “Not because they’re not bright, they’re really good at what they do but because we’re simply used to doing business in a certain way; erroneously continuing to define general market and mass market as more homogenous than it really was. We wanted to create intimate environments for business conversations that would spark ideas and spark business connectivity to diverse vendors who could change business. What then happened was a very natural shift in assumptions.”
One such dynamic opportunity was the partnership between FOX and Bakewell Media, via The Taste of Soul. While FOX has maintained a consistent presence at The Taste of Soul over the years, Bernard saw the event as a chance to further strengthen FOX’s connection to the African-American community.
“It was all about being forward thinking and bringing forward thinking opportunities either individually or collectively to the African-American community,” Bernard revealed. “There was a joint dedication to that and both FOX and Bakewell Media I believe have existing brands that on their own do that but together the potential could be really great.”
Taste of Soul was the impetus of what will hopefully evolve into a long and fruitful collaboration. For Bernard, gone are the old days of sponsorship of just writing a check to say you were there. Her concern was how to turn sponsorship into authentic engagement that drives business back to business so those sponsorships, those businesses, those engagements are truly valuable. Her first step in ensuring that FOX’s involvement in the Taste of Soul was valuable this year was getting behind Starquest, The Taste of Soul talent competition. “That was a no-brainer,” she exclaimed. “From American Idol to X-Factor, FOX is the home of the big talent competitions so this made absolute sense. Initially, they were just asking for talent but I felt we could do better than that then I came across this and couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it before, it was so obvious.”
As the Audience Strategy continues to broaden the reach of FOX across all its entertainment properties, partnerships like this prove valuable to local and national markets.
“It’s not just about Taste Of Soul but what it represents. It demonstrates a critical value that African Americans bring to LA and the richness of LA,” Bernard says. “It demonstrates a brand marketing business value around a very dynamic wealthy constituency and we share a same thinking that while there are elements of that engagement that might be local, there’s such an easy concept of business integration that would bring an immediate value add for our sponsorship dollars.” The national platform, states Bernard very bluntly, “That is our brand and the talent that amplify that and connect them to the FOX brand and programming that made the marriage make sense. Its thinking about how we work together to amplify the Taste of Soul brand.”
What Ms. Bernard is alluding to are the plans currently underway as a direct result of the joint venture, to take the Taste of Soul on the road. The goal of the project is to develop a grassroots campaign, which means creating local content for and engagement with African American audiences across the country. This level of exposure not only puts Taste of Soul on a national fast track with FOX audiences but it also connects FOX nationally with a recognizable African American brand, that says FOX is about us and engages us.
“The bottom line of all this is the recognition of the tremendous value, that we have always had,” says Bernard in between bites of trail mix. “That the value be recognized in mass, that it not be questioned any more, that it is plain spoken. I’d love for the collective to see this partnership as a roadmap to acting in concert either around this initiative or others because it means business for us all. It’s the value proposition. When we recognize the value in our community, then it’s like a domino effect. Everybody recognizes it.”
Page 7 of 59