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Latest Flicks / Mr. Reggie produces, Vin Diesel/Gary Gray Film
« on: April 23, 2021, 05:01:31 pm »

Vin Diesel & Director F. Gary Gray Flex ‘Muscle’ For STXfilms

By Mike Fleming Jr

Mike Fleming Jr
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Film

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Vin Diesel & Director F. Gary Gray Flex ‘Muscle’ For STXfilms
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F Gary Gray Vin Diesel
(L-R) F. Gary Gray and Vin Diesel
Courtesy photo; Steve Granitz
EXCLUSIVE: STXfilms has set F. Gary Gray to direct Vin Diesel in the action-comedy Muscle, which will be Gray’s next film and will shoot later this year. Reginald Hudlin and Byron Phillips are producing alongside Diesel and Samantha Vincent for One Race Films. Gray will be executive producer through his Fenix Studios banner.

Diesel and Gray developed a rapport making 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, a film that grossed more than $1.2 billion in global box office. The latest draft of Muscle is by John Swetnam and Malcolm Spellman. The original script was written by Scott Taylor & Wesley Jermaine Johnson. The film’s log line is being kept under wraps.

“There are few directors who can match Gary’s skill with character, comedy and big action, which is why he is one of the most accomplished and in-demand directors working today,” said Adam Fogelson, chairman of STXfilms Motion Picture Group. “Over the years, Vin and I have worked together on a number of hit movies, and it’s a thrill to reteam Vin and Gary after their billion-dollar success on The Fate of the Furious. This will become one of the most eagerly anticipated films on our slate.”

'Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots' Live-Action Movie In The Works With Vin Diesel, Universal & Mattel Films
Diesel also starred in Gray’s 2003 action thriller A Man Apart.

Muscle will be overseen by STX’s Drew Simon and Kevin Sauer. Straight Outta Compton helmer Gray, who is also developing to direct Saints Row, and M.A.S.K. for Paramount and Hasbro, is repped by UTA and attorney Nina Shaw; Diesel, who’ll next be seen starring in the ninth film in the Fast & Furious franchise and is coming off Bloodshot, is repped by CAA and Linden Entertainment.

Muscle adds to an STX slate that includes the Kristen Bell-Vince Vaughn-starrer Queenpins, a new action film directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, and Aubrey Plaza; The Marsh King’s Daughter, starring Daisy Ridley and directed by Neil Burger; American Sole, starring Pete Davidson, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Bad Bunny; the Jennifer Lopez starrer Godmother; the Dave Bautista starrer Universe’s Most Wanted; and the Chris Pine starrer Violence of Action.

Vox Populi / MAGA Central Just north of Detroit
« on: April 23, 2021, 02:14:53 pm »

Democrats were in trouble.

It was November 1984, and white, working-class voters in Macomb County had overwhelmingly voted for President Ronald Reagan for a second term. The Dems were losing their suburban, blue-collar base, and nowhere was the loss more pronounced than in Macomb County, home of the white, unionized autoworker.

Just 20 years earlier, three-quarters of Macomb County voters turned out for President Lyndon Johnson, making it the most heavily Democratic suburban county in the U.S.

To figure out what happened, local Democratic Party leaders hired Yale professor and pollster Stanley Greenberg. In March 1985, Greenberg sat down with Macomb County's Democratic defectors in hotel rooms and restaurants. After more than a month of interviews, Greenberg came to a startling conclusion: White, working-class voters who long identified as Democrats were fed up, fearful, and increasingly xenophobic. Their manufacturing jobs, which provided decent, middle-class wages to generations of autoworkers, were drying up.

They complained that Democrats had turned their backs on blue-collar workers in favor of liberal social causes, such as abortion, gun-control, LGBTQ rights, and racial disparities.

"They were disillusioned, angry voters, but they were not Republicans," Greenberg wrote in his 1995 book Middle Class Dreams. "Their way of life was genuinely in jeopardy, threatened by profound economic changes beyond their control, yet their leaders, who were supposed to look out for them, were preoccupied with other groups and issues."

Greenberg famously called these voters "Reagan Democrats," a moniker that brought political notoriety to Macomb County as the national capital of white, angsty Middle America.

More than 25 years later, those white, angsty voters now have an almost-religious devotion to ex-President Donald Trump and his message to "Make America Great Again."

"I've come to believe the voters are no longer Reagan Democrats," David A. Dulio, a political science professor at Oakland University, tells Metro Times. "They are Trump Republicans."

After voting twice for Barack Obama, Macomb County voters were the key to Trump's victory in Michigan in 2016. Trump won the county by about 48,000 votes, or nearly five times his margin of victory statewide. In 2020, Trump beat Joe Biden by nearly 40,000 votes in the county.

"We're the party of MAGA," Lisa Mankiewicz, vice chairwoman of the Macomb County Republican Party, boasted in February, a month after Trump was no longer president.

Her comments came after the county party unanimously voted to censure Republican congressional moderates Fred Upton and Peter Meijer for voting to impeach Trump.

"Macomb County, Michigan, is the home of Trump Republicans," the party's executive committee declared in the resolution.

Before Trump, Democrats dominated on the local level in the county. Then in November 2020, voters turned out in record numbers and elected Trump-supporting Republicans up and down the ballot. For the first time, Republicans took control of the 13-member county Board of Commissioners and picked up four of five countywide seats (prosecutor, treasurer, public works commissioner, and clerk/register of deeds), all of which Democrats held in 2016.

Republicans now control every community north of M-59, which runs through the center of the county.

"It's a significant shift in the county," Dulio says. "In the '80s, folks voted for Reagan, but they also voted for Democrats. Now they're voting for Trump and other Republicans."

A Metro Times analysis of voting data shows an increasing number of Macomb County voters are abandoning the Democratic Party and going all in for Republican candidates. Nearly a third of the county's voters cast a straight-ticket Republican ballot in the 2020 presidential election, up from 18% in the 2012 general election. The number of straight-ticket Republican ballots doubled from roughly 72,500 in 2012 to nearly 149,000 in 2020.

Macomb County, the third largest county in the state, now has more Republican voters than any other county in Michigan, eclipsing its affluent neighbor, Oakland County, a longtime GOP stronghold that twice rejected Trump and elected Democrats to every countywide office except for sheriff in 2020. It has even surpassed Kent County, home of Grand Rapids and GOP megadonors like Dick and Betsy DeVos, another longtime stronghold that also flipped for Biden.

With 9% of the state's population, Macomb County has become a potent conservative enclave of disgruntled white, working-class voters who are steadfast in keeping Trumpism alive.

The hard pull to the right has ushered in a new generation of elected Republicans who are adopting Trump's combative, fear-mongering rhetoric, fanning conspiracy theories, downplaying COVID-19, spreading misinformation about vaccines, and embodying an anti-establishment, populist sentiment.

"It's divide-and-conquer politics," Sam Inglot, deputy director of Progress Michigan, a progressive advocacy group, tells Metro Times. "Real problems are being ignored while Republicans are focusing on right-wing talking points and misinformation about the election and COVID. It's a disservice and a dereliction of duty from elected officials who are supposed to be serving the people. At the end of the day, they are dividing people."

Acting / Vintage Horror: The Beast Must Die: Calvin Lockhart
« on: March 27, 2021, 07:59:30 pm »

Error 404 (Not Found)!!1

I just saw this for the first time, on the Svengoolie broadcast.

Pretty intriguing, though not very scary in retrospect.

Calvin Lockhart does very well here as does Marlene Clark, and Peter Cushing (!)

a few other deep-cuts genre actors can be seen in this..

I'd suggest a new version be created, with Idris Elba in the lead.. and with a different ending that allows it to continue..

It's on the Disney+ channel

"Lost & Found"

Paul Scheer is the focal point of this (mostly?) scripted episode, where he attempts to find an ignored property at Marvel that is ripe for updating.  Somehow, he ends up focusing on Brute Force.

And the episode features Scheer chatting with Mr. Reggie!   :)

Very cool, I wasn't expecting this.  Scheer is one of these quirky looking fellows that I low-key notice in random stuff from time to time, but seldom remember him.. I'm thinking I first noticed him on one of these VH-1 pop culture commentary shows where he was one of several rotating talking heads..

Nice to see that they found the original fellow who pitched the series (!!), and the comics editor and author.

I know that Marvel's Crystar was a self-created "toy line title" that actually made it to toys for a while.  I'd like to see that brought back.. (I'll have to work on my pitch..  ;) )

Acting / Ed O'Neill: From Youngstown Ohio to Modern Family
« on: January 26, 2021, 05:30:06 pm »

I remember when I was living in New York and I was first offered the part as Al Bundy on a new sitcom called “Married... With Children.” My agent didn’t want me to take it. Things were going well in New York and they thought I should pursue more serious roles on stage and in films. I was making $400 to $600 a week on Broadway and “Married... With Children” was offering me $10,000 per show for a pilot and six episodes. I told my agent, “Hey man, I’m 32 years old. Nobody knows who the f*ck I am. I’m not gonna turn this down. It’s too much money.”

I had no idea that “Married... With Children” would become one of the biggest TV shows of its time, and run for 11 years. By the eighth season, I was the highest-paid actor on television, making almost a million dollars a show.

I grew up in a steel mill town in the heart of the Rust Belt—Youngstown, Ohio. My dad weaved between jobs at the mill and long bouts of unemployment. My mom was a social worker. To say we were “lower middle-class” isn’t quite right. We aspired to be lower middle-class. In truth, it was more of a lower-class childhood.

My parents fought constantly about money. They had different spending habits. My dad had grown up in real poverty and was extremely frugal. But my mom was from a better part of town, and more loose in her spending, which drove my dad crazy. This often led to shouting matches. Sometimes my mom would tell my dad she was leaving, slam the door, and head off down the street. My siblings and I would go chasing her. “Mom! Mom!” we’d cry, begging her to come back home.

We lived in a ramshackle apartment building on the north side of town, between the train tracks and public housing projects. But not too far away were some of the city’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. So I always knew that there were people who lived life without bruising toil and constant struggle. As a kid, I’d walk through those neighbourhoods and fantasize about one day living in one of those houses.

At 14, I started working construction jobs, and when I got to college, I started working in the steel mills—slagging in the open hearth and helping the boilermakers. The boilermakers are the guys who repair the mill. My job was to drag their CO2 cart inside a downed furnace and pass them tools while they used their welding torches to fix the furnace. You could only stay inside a furnace for five minutes at a stretch, because you’d literally catch on fire. You could feel the graphite in the air singeing your lungs. These days, they have safety regulations against doing exactly the work we were doing all day, every day. But it wasn’t the physical duress that repelled me. What I hated most was that every time I bought an egg sandwich on white bread at the canteen, I had to cram it in my mouth and swallow the whole thing quickly; otherwise, the black smoke in the air would turn the sandwich a strange shade of brown.

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If I cleared $300 for two weeks of work, that was a big cheque. You’d cash it at a little trailer right outside the mill gates. There was no better feeling than walking out of that trailer with a fresh wad of bills. I was never one to spend lavishly, but on payday I loved going out for beers at a bar next to the mill called The Open Hearth. Each beer was 50 cents, and I could spend a night drinking without worrying about how I was going to cover the tab. On the weekend, still flush with cash, I’d go to a grungy bar called The Palm Gardens and stuff myself with roasted lamb, grilled by the Ukrainian guys in the kitchen, while my buddies and I watched the Steelers game on TV. There wasn’t a palm tree within 1,500 f*cking miles, but The Palm Gardens had just enough whiff of the exotic to light in my imagination some sense of the world beyond Youngstown.

In college, I played football, first at Ohio University, and then back home at Youngstown State. I never got along with my coaches; they were meatheads, assholes, and drunks. But the football scholarships helped me get through school. I had a talent for it, and liked the physicality—I was good at tackling people. After my senior year, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed me. It was Chuck Noll’s first year as head coach; I was a rookie with “Mean” Joe Green and the rest of the guys who went on to win Super Bowl titles.

My signing bonus was $1,200—a thrilling, astounding figure. I was completely broke, and this was more money than I’d ever seen at one time. Chuck Noll was the first coach I ever really got along with, but the Steelers had a different defensive system than my college teams. They shifted me from guard and linebacker to outside linebacker, and I struggled to find my place. Eventually, I was cut and headed home to Youngstown again—and that’s when I got involved in theatre. In high school, I’d acted in a few plays—and had secretly enjoyed it. But I had to keep it under wraps to avoid getting razzed by the guys on my football team. Still, a match had been lit, and I knew it was something I wanted to explore a bit more one day.

I got a job running the campus pub at Youngstown State and started hanging out around the theatre department. Even though I wasn’t a student anymore, they needed actors for their student plays, and gave me parts in classics by Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O’Neill. The theatre students thought I was a meathead, a jock, a brute, and they shunned me, while my old football friends, when word got out that I was involved in theatre, thought I’d gone completely goofy. But they never gave me too hard a time, because they knew I liked to fight. My father was a good fighter and had taught me some rudimentary, but crucial basics: Never get a guy in a headlock, because a headlock reverses too easily, and ties your hands up. My strongest arm was my right arm, but I had a good left hook. I got in dozens of scraps, and clipped a lot of guys with that punch. So my friends knew when to back off.

Eventually, a bold and kind of crazy idea settled into my mind—to move to New York and try to make it as an actor. Really, I had nothing to lose. I was almost 30, living in my hometown, and making ten grand a year. So I sold my car, packed a gym bag with a few clothes, and got on a bus to New York.

I found a room in a residential motel called The Imperial Court on 79th Street and West End. There was nothing imperial about it. What had once been an elegant old building was now essentially a burial ground for the old, infirm, and destitute. Rent was paid weekly. The rooms had no kitchens, so I cooked myself meals on an electric hot plate. I worked at cafés, and as a busboy at fancy restaurants, making $40 a shift, on a good night. My chances of breaking into the theatre world seemed bleak—at best—and usually nonexistent.

But it’s funny how unexpected bits of serendipity unfold, and how one little hiccup of luck can lead to another. Eventually, I got a job at O’Neal’s Balloon, a famous bar and restaurant on 64th Street, across the street from Lincoln Center. O’Neal’s was basically an upscale burger joint that serviced all the people in a hurry before they went to the ballet, plus the dancers themselves from the Joffrey and the American Ballet companies. Even Mikhail Baryshnikov was a presence. Others too: Woody Allen, Dick Cavett; famous folks heading to Lincoln Center for a show. It felt great to be around entertainment bigwigs, even if I was just serving them a drink.

My signing bonus with the Pittsburgh Steelers after senior year was $1,200—a thrilling, astounding figure. I was completely broke, and this was more money than I’d ever seen at one time.

At O’Neal’s I met a guy named Joe who was a young, handsome, and talented actor making some moves, and he’d just been cast in the play “Knockout” on Broadway as a middle-aged boxer, co-starring with Danny Aiello. I had just done an off-, off-, off-Broadway play called “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” completely unpaid, because I’d take any role that anyone offered me. Joe said, “I heard you did a play about a boxer. You know how to box?” I told him I’d only played a boxer, but that I knew how to fight. He said, “That’s great! Could you show me?” So I taught him the same basics my dad had taught me: left jab, left hook, right hand, body shot, body punch. And: Never put someone in a headlock.

One day, as I was showing Joe some moves, he said, “Man, you should be my understudy.” He made an appointment to introduce me to the director, Frank Corsaro, who was one of the most famous directors in the city; Danny Aiello, who starred in the play; and also the play’s technical director, Jose Torres, who had been the light heavyweight champion of the world, and was close with Cus D’Amato, Norman Mailer, and Muhammad Ali. The meeting was set at a boxing gym on 23rd Street.

So we went down and I started on heavy bags, and then they had me move around with another fighter a little bit, and we threw light punches, careful not to hurt each other. When I came out of the ring, Jose Torres came over to me and said, “Where did you fight pro?” I said, “I’m not a pro.” And he said, “Get the f*ck out, man. I know a pro when I see a pro.” I told him again, “I’m not a pro,” and he said, “No sh*t! You look like a pro, man!”

The next day, they had me come to the theatre, on Broadway, to read lines with Danny Aiello. And then Aiello and Corsaro, the director, huddled for a moment, and turned to me. “You know, this job only pays $400 a week,” Corsaro said. “Fine with me,” I said. Corsaro asked for my phone number, and I was too embarrassed to tell him that I was living in a weekly motel and didn’t have a phone. I gave him the number to an answering service, which was like a shared voicemail system. “Okay, I’ll call you,” he said. “Guess what? You got the job.” I walked out of the theatre, mind-blown, walked into a bar across the street called Ma Bell’s, at one in the afternoon, and had the most satisfying beers of my life.

It was never my intention to take the part from the guy I was understudying, but at some point Aiello and Corsaro had a little pow-wow. Then they fired Joe and hired me to take his place. Joe never forgot it, but we both knew it wasn’t my fault; they were making the choice they thought was best for the play. Suddenly, against all odds, I was on Broadway, in a starring role—all because my dad had taught me how to box.

From there, I got an agent at ICM and started auditioning for film roles. The Hollywood director William Friedkin came to see “Knockout” and cast me as a detective in his film “Cruising,” starring Al Pacino. At the first rehearsal, I’m staring at Pacino, thinking, “Holy sh*t, that’s Al Pacino—The Godfather—what’s going on?!”


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But yeah, I took the role on “Married... With Children,” and I ended up doing the show for 11 years. “Modern Family” went 11 years. At this point it's not about the money for me. I don't need to work. I've got more than I could ever spend... And that's saying something, because you know I like buying cars, and now I like buying houses. I did “The Last Shift” for nothing. I think I did it for, I don’t even know what I did it for, it might have been $8,000 or I think it was more like $10,000. But, I wanted to know what it was. The exact number. Because I don't care if it's like a million bucks for a big TV show or ten grand for a small film, it all means one thing: I'm a paid actor. Which is all I ever wanted to be. But there was a time it did matter.

When I got the role on “Married... With Children,” my agent was a guy named Bernie Brillstein. He was canny and knew I liked cars; one time, during a contract negotiation, he got the head of Columbia to buy me a $90,000 Porsche. And while the studio would rather give you their firstborn child than give you points on the back end of a show’s profits, Bernie was careful about building a series of bonuses into my contracts. So one night, after we finished shooting an episode, one of the heads of Sony gave me an envelope with a bonus cheque. I said, “Thank you,” and put it in the pocket of my jeans. I could see he was disappointed; he’d wanted me to open it in front of him. I started bullsh*tting with him. “How’s your golf game been?” Then I headed out. “Don’t lose that cheque!” he said. “Nah,” I replied. “It’s in my f*cking pocket.”

On Friday nights, after we finished taping, I always went by myself to an Italian restaurant called Drago on 26th and Wilshire. It was my own quiet way of celebrating the end of another week of work—the same way I’d drink beers on Friday nights at the local dives when I worked in the Youngstown steel mills. By the time I got to Drago, late on Friday nights, everyone was leaving, and I always sat at the same table in back, and my favourite waiter would bring me a nice $60 bottle of wine, and a plate of antipasto.

That night, I remembered, Oh, I’ve got this cheque in my pocket! I pulled it out, smoothed out the envelope and opened it. And at first I thought I had read it wrong. I thought it was going to be around $300,000, which would still be amazing and insane to receive as a bonus cheque. But then I looked again a second time, and then a third. The cheque was for three million, four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and some change. I had to keep looking at it over and over, to try to absorb what that really meant. That’s actually three million dollars. Right here. In my hand. It started to sink in that I had made three million dollars for acting! Something that had always been my hobby, and something I would’ve been doing whether I was paid for it or not. And then I understood why the Sony guy had wanted me to look at the cheque. I’d deprived him of the chance to see my face when I opened it. But I was happy I’d waited and been alone.

I put the cheque away, and called out to the waiter. “Silvio! That wine, you didn’t open it yet?” “No.” I said, “Get me another one. Get me one for about a hundred-fifty a bottle.” I didn’t want to be extravagant, but I wanted to acknowledge the moment. “What are you celebrating?” Silvio asked.

I thought back to the shouting matches my parents had had over money and how hard they had worked to keep the heat on in winter. And my college years in the steel mill. I wasn’t crying, not really, but I found that my eyes were a little wet. “Not celebrating anything in particular,” I told Silvio. “Just a good week of work. Friday’s payday, you know.”

Silvio brought out the $150 bottle of wine, poured me a glass, and I invited him to join me and pour one for himself. “To payday,” Silvio said. We clinked our glasses together and I guzzled mine down. That was the best goddamn glass of wine I’ve ever had.

Vox Populi / MAGA-Geddon: The aftermath
« on: January 11, 2021, 02:35:37 pm »
I really hope all the people who stormed the Capitol get indicted.
I hope that anyone who was involved in the poor security response gets indicted.
I hope that all the congresspeople and senators who officially voted to repeal the Electoral Count and who encouraged the "stop the steal" rally get called out and hopefully kicked out of Congress.

The Democrats can't play softball anymore, regardless of how reactionary all the white conservatives are going to get, especially in the pundit class; feel free to ignore any self-described "independents" who may insist on the notion of "Trump's gone on the 20th, leave it at that"...

The attorneys general in various states also need to find a way to hit Trump hard with as many applicable charges as possible, and aside from criminal penalties they need to VOID his Presidential pension and secret service detail.  NO MORE perks on the public dime.  And the "Son of Sam" law should apply where he can't profit by writing a book, etc., based on his crimes.

Milestone Media / new Interview w. Mr. Reggie on Milestone
« on: December 12, 2020, 01:14:17 pm »

During DC FanDome earlier this year, the publisher released the first new comics from Milestone in years. The publishing imprint, launched in the '90s by a number of Black comic book writers and artists, lasted only a short time before folding, with its characters largely absent from parent company DC's publishing line since. the course of the 25 years or so since the end of Milestone, there were several efforts to revitalize the brand or bring some of the characters into DC's shared universe, but all have been abortive and short-lived until very recently, with a new release, more scheduled, and news on a Static Shock movie.

During a recent interview in support of Safety, his new football drama for Disney+, filmmaker and comic book writer Reginald Hudlin told that the new-look Milestone is going to be more than just one or two projects -- and more than just Static Shock.

"I thought the guys were prescient when they named the company Milestone Media," Hudlin told "Denys [Cowan] and I have both worked in multiple mediums, in television and so on. And we're doing something that's never been done before: we are creators who are experienced in comics and movies and television, and we're shepherding the projects in multiple platforms simultaneously. So there's gonna be comics, and there's gonna be movies, and there's gonna be TV shows. Yes, of course, everyone's focused on Static – and they should be, because he's a great character, but there's a lot of great characters in the Milestone universe, both old ones and new ones we're going to be creating. Over the course of the next couple of years, we're going to be rolling out a lot of exciting projects coming out of Milestone."

Milestone's most recent revival was announced in 2015 at Comic Con International in San Diego. After several false starts and a numebr of regime changes on DC's publishing side, they officially announced that the line would be returning with a one-shot, released digitally during FanDome, and more comics coming in the spring.

While he's thrilled to have found Disney+ to work on Safety with, and he's happy to be back in the geek space, Hudlin says it's unlikely he will return to one of his most-loved TV projects: the animated Black Panther series, anytime soon.

"You know what? I did that before they were Disney, and they've got a grand vision and they're doing their thing which is awesome," Hudlin said. "I'm a big fan of what they do, and I can't wait to do what I do."

Hudlin's Safety is now streaming on Disney+

Vox Populi / Pushback Against Rahm Emanuel as a Cabinet Pick
« on: November 19, 2020, 01:59:39 pm »
when Chicago Alderwoman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez heard that former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel was being considered for another position in another Democratic administration, she penned an open letter urging President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris to put Emanuel on the “DO NOT HIRE list.”

The letter evolved into a petition that had by Tuesday afternoon attracted almost 4,000 signatures, and Rodriguez Sanchez says the messages she’s heard from constituents in the city where Emanuel served two scandal-plagued terms as mayor are unequivocal in their opposition. “It’s amazing,” she told The Nation. “People are saying ‘Never! Never! Never! We don’t want this man in the cabinet.’”

The prospect that Emanuel might be tapped to serve as secretary of transportation or secretary of Housing and Urban Development has drawn plenty of national criticism from progressives who recall his tenures as the union-bashing neoliberal senior adviser to President Bill Clinton during the fight over the North American Free Trade Agreement, and as the Obama administration chief of staff who famously spewed obscenities at progressives who wanted to push harder for robust health care reforms. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said after the November 3 election, “Someone like Rahm Emanuel would be a pretty divisive pick. And it would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party.” Dream Defenders cofounder Phillip Agnew, who served as a senior adviser to the 2020 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, said during a recent Haymarket Books forum, “As hard as we went against Betsy DeVos, we should go against Rahm Emanuel.”

The strongest response to the floating of Emanuel’s name has come from elected officials in Chicago who have not forgotten how the former mayor governed.

November 17, 2020

November 16, 2020

November 12, 2020

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“We here in Chicago know firsthand the damage that Rahm Emanuel did to our city, services, institutions and people, as mayor,” says Illinois state Representative Delia Ramirez. “It is absurd and insulting that Emanuel is being considered for a cabinet position in the Biden administration.”

Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has argued that Emanuel is uniquely unsuited for the cabinet positions he reportedly might fill, tweeting, “As Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel promoted policies that displaced record numbers of working poor Chicagoans. The thought of Emanuel as Biden’s Secretary of Housing is insulting to the mostly Black and Brown Chicagoans harmed by Emanuel’s racist housing policies” and “As Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel’s big transportation idea was to give Elon Musk public resources to put a car in an over-priced and unnecessary tunnel from downtown to O’Hare Airport. The thought of Emanuel as Biden’s Secretary of Transportation is asinine.”

Ramirez-Rosa has, with progressives across the country, been promoting the #EmbraceTheBase message that Biden should lead “an administration of competent progressive governance, not old school political patronage.”

Alderwoman Rodriguez Sanchez pulled many of the concerns together in her letter and the petition she developed with fellow activists.

That petition begins by explaining: “As residents of Chicago—and as community organizers, local elected officials, union members and others who are all-too-familiar with his work—we are writing to un-recommend Rahm in the strongest terms possible. If you want to root out systemic racism, defend democracy, and build a society that leaves no one behind—all worthy goals mentioned in your victory speech—we can think of few people worse for the job than the man who earned the nickname ‘Mayor 1%.’”

Then it gets specific about “Rahm’s resume in some key policy areas”:

Covered up the police murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014. Laquan McDonald’s killing—police shot him 16 times, including while he lay on the ground—was a catalyst of the Black Lives Matter movement and doomed Rahm’s political future in the city.
Closed 50 elementary schools—the single largest school closure in U.S. history—over an outcry from parents, students and community members. Most of the schools served African-American children on the south and west sides of the city.
Shuttered half of Chicago’s public mental health clinics, leaving patients in need of care literally sitting on the sidewalk outside of the locked doors and pleading for help.
Lavished wealthy neighborhoods and pet projects with public dollars through Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Rahm’s greatest TIF hits—this is an economic development tool that’s supposed to fight “blight,” mind you—include $55 million to buy DePaul University a new basketball stadium, millions funneled to Navy Pier through an elaborate shell game, and another $1.3 billion in subsidies for luxury mega-developments on his way out the door.
Repeatedly broke the city’s promises to rebuild public housing, while blocking an ordinance improving transparency in the mis-managed Chicago Housing Authority. The deficit in affordable housing, combined with staggering and deeply regressive property-tax hikes, were factors in the exodus of tens of thousands of Black residents out of Chicago during his term.
Hyped a failed plan to build an express train from downtown Chicago to O’Hare airport that would bypass the transit used by actual Chicagoans. The boondoggle, hatched by Rahm campaign donor Elon Musk, was widely panned; one alderman called it a scheme “mostly for tourists and Musk’s reputation.”
Oversaw a police department that cost taxpayers more than $540 million for abuse and misconduct settlements during his time in office.
Rejected public referenda calling for an elected school board, instead hand-picking school CEOs such as Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was sent to federal prison after pleading guilty on a multi-million-dollar kickback scheme involving Chicago Public Schools money.
Went on a privatization spree, to disastrous effect. Selling off everything from school janitorial services to trash collection, privatization left Chicago with indignities such as dirty classrooms and one of the nation’s most abysmal recycling rates.
The petition concludes in the blunt language of Chicago politics: “Given his track record, awarding Rahm Emanuel a cabinet position in the new administration would be a disaster for many of the communities that helped defeat Donald Trump. Not least, it’s a Sears-Tower-sized insult to our city of Chicago, where we are continuing to deal with the effects of his legacy on a daily basis. Take the word of the city that knows him best: We don’t want him here, but we don’t want him anywhere near the White House either.”

Vox Populi / Wayne County (Detroit) Attempt to Void Black Votes
« on: November 17, 2020, 07:26:21 pm »
This was a hot topic on MSNBC this evening:  I can't tell you how heated I was when the news came down about the initial vote to not certify the results...

After what was an unprecedented 2-2 deadlock along partisan lines, with the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voting against certifying the county's November election results, the board unanimously voted to certify the results late Tuesday night.

The board also passed a resolution calling on Michigan Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to conduct an independent comprehensive audit of all of the jurisdictions in the county that recorded unexplained discrepancies between the number of absentee ballots recorded as cast and the number of absentee ballots counted.

All four members of the board unanimously supported the certification of the August primary election, which also saw unexplained discrepancies.

After initially voting against certifying the election results, Monica Palmer, the Republican chair of the committee, said she would be open to certifying the election results for some jurisdictions but not Detroit and others that recorded unexplained discrepancies.

Hudlin TV / Entertainment Weekly: Bernie Mac Show Origins
« on: November 14, 2020, 10:01:38 am »


“You ever see a chicken with its neck wrung, laying to the side all lazy and weak? That’s what I’m gonna do to them kids.” On Nov. 14, 2001, comedian Bernie Mac looked America straight in the eye and threatened three adorable TV children with bodily harm — and just like that, America fell in love. Created by Larry Wilmore (The PJs, In Living Color, Sister, Sister), The Bernie Mac Show ran for five seasons on Fox, earning a Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize, and an Emmy for Wilmore’s pilot script. Loosely based on Mac’s life, the series followed comedian Bernie Mac as he struggled to care for his sister’s three children — Vanessa (Camille Winbush), Jordan (Jeremy Suarez), and Bryana (Dee Dee Davis) — with the help of his loving but no-nonsense wife, Wanda (Kellita Smith).

Using reality TV-style confessionals and animated on-screen annotations, the single-camera comedy (still a rarity in 2001) brought the already-legendary Mac to a whole new audience. “Bernie as a comedian on stage is very dynamic. If I had him up in front of an audience, I'd be competing with that version of Bernie and it'd be no competition — I would lose,” recalls Wilmore. “But if I were doing a single-camera show, I could have a more intimate portrait of Bernie that doesn't compete with that outsize version of him on stage, and viewers could get to know him in a different way.” Though Mac, who suffered from the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis, passed away in 2008 at the age of 50, his eponymous show — and his comedic legacy — remains as relevant as ever.

Wilmore was exec producing Fox’s Emmy-winning stop-motion comedy The PJs when inspiration for another genre-busting series struck.

LARRY WILMORE [Creator]: I was watching this show called 1900 House, where they have cameras in the house and people had to act like it was 1900. I thought it was fascinating. I wanted to do something different than the normal three-camera sitcom. I thought it might be interesting to do a show where it seemed like we were eavesdropping on the family rather than having the action pushed at us. Then I saw Kings of Comedy, and I was really struck by Bernie's attitude and his jokes. I thought, “This would be an interesting story to put in this framework.” It’s about this guy whose sister is on drugs and he has to take care of her kids. I developed it a little bit and pitched it to Bernie. He loved it.

Hard Choices / the Dynamite Battle You Didn't Ask For
« on: October 25, 2020, 03:35:16 pm »
BTS, Dynamite:

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Jermaine Jackson, Dynamite

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Spirituality / New Black Catholic Cardinal announced in Washington DC
« on: October 25, 2020, 03:32:10 pm »

Pope Francis named 13 new cardinals on Sunday, among them Washington DC archbishop Wilton Gregory, who will be the first African American to earn the coveted red hat and who made headlines this summer when he criticised Donald Trump’s willingness to use religion for political purposes.

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In a surprise announcement in St Peter’s Square, Francis said the churchmen would be elevated on 28 November.

The Washington archdiocese traditionally brings elevation to cardinal’s rank. Gregory, 72, was appointed to that post last year, as its first Black occupant.

His rise to cardinal comes amid increased focus on racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd, an African American man, in Minnesota in May.


In June, a day after civil rights demonstrators were forcibly cleared from a square to facilitate the president’s visit to an Episcopal church near the White House, Gregory was publicly critical of Trump’s decision to visit to the St John Paul II National Shrine.

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree,” Gregory said.

Pope Francis was now sending a clear message “in the midst of our nation’s reckoning in systemic racism, as millions assert that Black Lives Matter”, said Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi USA, a national Catholic peace and justice organization based in Washington DC.

“It’s validation of the archbishop’s opposition this past summer of President Trump using the St John Paul II Shrine for a photo op when the president’s policies are so radically contrary to our faith and the teachings of the church.”

The US Catholic church has strong conservative and liberal veins. Conservative prelates have lambasted Francis for his more liberal stands, including his support for same-sex civil unions. His selection of Gregory won praise from LGBTQ advocates.

When Gregory led the Atlanta diocese, he wrote positively about conversations with parents of LGBTQ children. On Sunday an advocate for LGBTQ Catholics, Francis DeBernardo, said choosing Gregory for a cardinal’s post was a signal Francis wants “LGBTQ people to be part of the church, and he wants church people to respect them.”

Gregory has also been a leader in aggressively addressing the church’s sexual abuse scandals and shoring up a zero-tolerance policy. In a statement on Sunday, he said becoming a cardinal would allow him to work more closely with the pontiff in caring for the church.

The pope’s move was also praised by the head of the largest US Catholic community, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, a position Gregory once held.

“Pope Francis is sending a powerful message of hope and inclusion to the church in the United States,” Gomez said. “The naming of the first African American cardinal from the United States gives us an opportunity to pause and offer thanks for the many gifts African American Catholics have given the church.”

Hudlin TV / Made in Hollywood's Cleveland O'Neal Buys MovieFone
« on: October 11, 2020, 08:35:02 am »
I guess this was back in March..  Kudos, Mr. O'Neal!   8)
I see reruns and occasional newer Made in Hollywood episodes on weekends...

the buyer of Moviefone — who snapped up the site for the fire-sale price of $1 million in a bankruptcy auction — has now come forward: It’s Cleveland O’Neal III, creator and producer of syndicated daytime entertainment show “Made in Hollywood.”

O’Neal’s holding company Born in Cleveland LLC was the winning bidder last week in the bankruptcy auction of Moviefone’s parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, also the majority owner of MoviePass. A New York bankruptcy judge approved the sale of $1.075 million to Born in Cleveland. O’Neal, who is founder, president and CEO of production and distribution company Connection III Entertainment, initially had preferred to remain anonymous but is now announcing his purchase of the movie-listing and entertainment site.

“The integration of ‘Made In Hollywood’s’ TV assets with Moviefone’s iconic digital/mobile/social assets is a perfect marriage of entertainment brands providing a 360 solution for our advertising, studio, broadcast and streaming partners across multiple platforms,” O’Neal said in a statement provided to Variety.

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According to a rep for O’Neal, he plans to retain Moviefone’s current staff and evaluate future hires.

Founded in 1989, Moviefone was acquired by AOL in 1999 for $388 million in stock. Helios and Matheson acquired Moviefone from Verizon’s Oath in 2018 for $1 million in cash plus stock. Helios and Matheson filed for Chapter 7 liquidation earlier this year, after sustaining big financial losses from the now-defunct MoviePass service.

“Made In Hollywood” is currently in its 15th season, syndicated across the U.S. on station groups including CBS and Fox owned-and-operated stations. The show features interviews with stars and directors, giving viewers a look at new and upcoming box office, streaming and Blu-ray movie releases. O’Neal’s company also produces a free, ad-supported digital streaming network for Made In Hollywood, which recently launched on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Stirr streaming service and an app on Roku.

O’Neal’s L.A.-based Connection III Entertainment also produces and distributes “Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition”; “Made in Hollywood Now,” showcasing what’s available on any screen from streaming to Blu-ray; “Live Life and Win,” featuring inspirational teen success stories. The company’s library of properties includes “What About Your Friends?”, TV’s first African-American after-school special; hip-hop beach movie “Phat Beach”; and made-for-TV movie “Christmas at Water’s Edge,” starring Keshia Knight Pulliam (“Cosby”) and Tom Bosley (“Happy Days”).

O’Neal is a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Television Academy. Connection III has earned multiple Emmy nominations, won an NAACP Image Award, and in 2007 received the Arts & Entertainment Company of the Year award from the City of Los Angeles and the SBA

Producing / Michael Uslan Pitched Luke Cage back in 1989-90
« on: October 10, 2020, 07:11:29 pm »

roducer Michael E. Uslan shared that he almost made a Luke Cage movie after the success of his and Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film.

Uslan revealed his old dream of making a Luke Cage film in an interview during a Wizard World panel, as reported by MovieWeb. He envisioned the film as a way to jumpstart a Marvel Cinematic Universe with a Black superhero lead.

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"Right after our first Batman movie, I optioned the rights from Marvel to Luke Cage, Hero for Hire," Uslan said. "This was when Marvel was mired. All they had was Captain America, and Fantastic Four, neither of which could be released theatrically. Marvel was in a mess."

Uslan pitched the movie to Universal and Motown Productions, focusing on how Marvel could lead its universe with a "grounded" superhero such as Cage -- aka Powerman -- whose powers of strength and invulnerable skin would be easier to shoot in a believable manner on-screen, as it wouldn't require too many special effects.

While hard to believe now, Marvel then did not have many financial resources to film big blockbusters, like DC's Batman or Superman films of the '80s, which led Uslan to think Powerman would be a great candidate for a way into a larger Marvel world on-screen.

In Uslan's film, Cage would be living in New York City within the late '70s to early '80s, fighting crime on his streets -- inspired by his character in the Heroes for Hire comic series and his team's first appearance in Powerman and Iron Fist #54. Unfortunately, after his meeting, Motown folded as a company and Universal was sold, leading Uslan to abandon the project altogether. Luke Cage wouldn't appear on-screen until 2016 when Marvel Studios and Netflix created a television series that ultimately ran for two seasons before cancellation.

Hudlin TV / Good Times animated reboot
« on: September 14, 2020, 12:37:22 pm »
Hmm.. So is this going to be Gentrification-ish?
This could either be incredibly funny or go incredibly badly.  Especially with McFarlane's involvement.  I hope they don't go chasing lowbrow jokes on principle.
there needs to be a black writers' room and character design team.

.... what housing projects are even left in Chicago at this point?


Good Times: Steph Curry, Seth MacFarlane Team for Animated Reboot
Steph Curry and Seth MacFarlane are teaming with Good Times creator Norman Lear to bring an animated reboot of the classic sitcom to Netflix.


Netflix has ordered an animated reboot of Norman Lear's 1970s comedy Good Times, with former NBA MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane also tied to the project, which will contain 10 episodes.

"It's a dream come true to be working with the legendary talents of Norman Lear, Seth McFarlane and Stephen Curry," Sony Pictures TV showrunner and executive producer Carl Jones said. "We are excited to carry on the original legacy of Good Times -- but now animated and a little edgier. Let’s just say the struggle has just gotten strugglier."

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Jones' past credits include other animated series such as The Boondocks and Black Dynamite. The description for the animated Good Times states that follows "the Evans family as they navigate today’s world and contemporary social issues. Just as the original did years ago, Good Times strives to remind us that with the love of our family, we can keep our heads above water."

Curry's production company, Unanimous Media, is partnering with Lear's Act III Prods. and MacFarlane's Fuzzy Door to develop the upcoming Netflix series. Brent Miller of Lear's Act III Prods., Unanimous Media Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Erick Peyton, Unanimous' Jeron Smith and Fuzzy Door's Erica Huggins will also executive produce.

"Unanimous is all about authentic partnerships and this team felt genuine from the beginning," Curry and Peyton said in a joint statement. "Good Times' strives to remind us that with the love of our family we can overcome any obstacle. We think, now more than ever, the world needs to see a show with hope and positivity."


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