Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day Dream



Years ago I attended a media screening of the film Lift, after which the cast was brought out for a Q&A. The wonderful Lonette McKee, who plays a cold, materialistic mother in the film, was a crowd favorite; they went wild with applause when she was introduced. At one point during the questioning, a man stood up and gushed several minutes of praise toward Ms. McKee before asking if she would sing a song for us. She stepped to the microphone and in a textured, earthy, naturally sexy voice replied, "I don't sing for free."

It was a funny reply but it also made me a little sad. Because in it I imagined I heard years of broken career promises, deals gone bad, money fucked over, tons and tons of bullshit sifted through. I've always been a big fan of hers and look forward to seeing her in anything, which I was happy to receive an email from filmmaker Rodney Evans (Brother to Brother) inviting me to a reading of his new screenplay Day Dream in New York next week; the reading will feature Ms. McKee. I can't make it but here's the info (followed by two more clips of the lady herself):

There will be a screenplay reading of DAY DREAM (with live jazz) on Monday, Nov. 10th at 6:30pm at 45 Bleecker St (at Lafeyette).

DAY DREAM, a new script by Rodney Evans, featuring performances by: Spencer Barros (THE TEMPEST), Reg E Cathey (THE WIRE), Anthony Chisholm (OZ), Colman Domingo (PASSING STRANGE), Aunjanue Ellis (RAY), Yvette Ganier (JITNEY), Andre Holland (SUGAR, WIG OUT!), Marc Damon Johnson (SWEET AND LOWDOWN), Adriane Lenox (TONY Winner-DOUBT), Walter Masterson (L.I.E.), Curtis McClarin (BRING IN DA NOISE, BRING IN DA FUNK) and Lonette McKee (JUNGLE FEVER). The event also features a live jazz quartet - Kyle Athayde (trumpet), Kristopher Bowers (piano), Bryan Carter (drums), Philip Kuehn (bass) - with musical arrangements by Aaron Diehl! Monday, November 10 The Theatres at 45 Bleecker St (Bleecker at Lafayette) 6:30-9:30PM Tickets: $20 General / $15 NewFest 2009 Member Discount.

In DAY DREAM, gay African-American composer Billy Strayhorn travels to New Orleans to investigate the life of Buddy Bolden, the forefather of modern jazz, who spent his last 24 years in a mental institution. Rodney Evans is the recipient of the Independent Feature Project’s Gordon Parks Award for Screenwriting and the 2004 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize in Drama for his first narrative feature, BROTHER TO BROTHER. He is a Creative Capital Grantee and a Guggenheim Fellow for 2008/09. NewDraft is NewFest's Screenplay Competition & Reading Series, dedicated to discovering and fostering LGBT feature screenwriters and/or LGBT feature screenplays. Day Dream was one of the two winners of the inaugural competition at this past June's festival. To purchase tickets online, visit newfest.org and follow the links from the main page.

From Cotton Club:


And a clip that seems especially fitting in this Prop 8 moment:

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