Robin Williams

I have a feeling that the impact of Robin Williams suicide is going to be felt harder as time goes on. I have known for hours now and it’s only now that I can speak on it and I wept. We didn’t know him but his comedy & his work made him familiar. And you just knew he was a sweetheart. He was the true Liberal, the whirling dervish, a one of a kind smarty pants whose career we all watched grow from TV’s “Mork and Mindy” to Oscar winner. And it seemed that he had it all – I can’t imagine the desperation, darkness and despair he must have felt at age 62, a statesman of movies and comedy. But it just goes to show you – that shit (money, success) doesn’t really matter if your heart and soul is lost in that darkness called depression. Thinking of the funny man tonight. Thinking of us all.


Talking Smack

Listen to yourself when you talk negatively about someone. Often times Gossip is a form of laziness. It’s a comfort zone. I think if we took the time to really see what the issue is (fear, jealousy,envy, unfulfillment) in our own life then we wouldn’t just sit and bitch about someone else. We would do something about the issue in our own lives that sparks the sudden vitriol we spew forth about another. It is easier to bitch about a person who writes a play then to start/complete our own writing projects. It is easier to blast on a performer who gets recognition and succeeds than to try to analyze why we don’t get the same and then do something about it ourselves. Talking smack about someone may make you “feel” superior but it doesn’t help your life at all. I really believe that when you try to block someone else’s blessings, you in turn, block your own. And people notice when you are a negative person. It’s tiresome to be around. Love is the answer.


First You Dream.

FIRST YOU DREAM: Crafting a new solo show and watching the amazing Audra McDonald Live From Lincoln Center. (She just won the Tony for “Lady Day.”) Talk about an inspiration! I’m going to sing all of my favorites like she does in concert except the tunes won’t come exclusively from the American Songbook and Broadway – though I will sing a few of those. Gospel, Blues, Disco, an Aria – I have this voice that can handle so many genres, yet I have so few opportunities to sing them all in a concert setting. Ultimately, I’d like a full orchestra behind me (in addition to The Shivers – my core group) but there won’t be anything lacking without it as long as I have my Shivers behind me. My Nina Simone show was the start, then I got distracted (FEAR) but I have to get back on that shit NOW! Don’t know what has buoyed me up to finally do it – but do it I must. Any and all encouragement is strongly requested and sorely needed! Original tunes – I could use a few … In the meantime, Watch the song that was like a shot in the arm – a kick in the butt … Look at those strings, hear those lush arrangements … but first things first, first you dream…


Hanging With Macy Gray & The Women’s Health Foundation Party.

Me & my new friend Macy Gray. A Kindred Spirit!


I am still buzzing from my great night performing (with Raymond on solo piano) for the Women’s Health Foundation at my all time home away from home: City Winery Chicago. It was a great party for a great cause: Women’s Pelvic Health – (the party is cleverly called “Below The Belt”) which offers education and access to health services and health options for all stages of life (adolescence, childbearing, menopausal and older women) They really encourage women to be proactive and act as their own advocates in regards to our reproductive health. The party was packed and well-funded. I believe the enthusiasm is due in great part to the group’s founder and chief Missy Lavender, a petite dynamo with a sweet disposition. Y’all know I do a lot of parties for all kinds of charitable groups but rarely do I get to be in the “front line” as a guest and performer. Since I opened the evening, I was able to do both.

But the ultimate perk of performing for this event was the chance to meet and hang out with Macy Gray! Continue reading ›


Maya Angelou

Dearest Maya Angelou represented so much to me. My mom & I used to read her books together. (her autobiographical Caged Bird Series) She was the zenith of African American Artistic Achievement. She had such dignity and elegance. She was the Poetess, the Sage, the Wonderful Crone. As long as she was around I felt a connection to the familiar. She represented a generation of Black Renaissance, a Freedom Fighter who survived Jim Crow and was active in the Movement and then, there are those sweet memories of reading her books (side by side) with Mommy… Can one love an author as one would love family? In this case I must answer: yes.


“I Could Be Next,” the fear of middle age.

Strange days. I am a very upbeat, positive kind of person. I always look on the bright side of most situations and people. However, lately my usually happy-go-lucky thoughts have turned to those of my own mortality. Stroke, heart attack, Cancer, disease and death are what I visualize on a huge roulette wheel and it’s spinning. Whose number will be up next? It could be me. I could be next. There could be Cancer cells growing in me right now. A little clot may be waiting to stir loose and travel to my brain.

Believe me when I tell you. I do not dwell in this place but anytime one of my peers is stricken, I shudder – first in mourning for them – and then in fear of that big unknown. It feels selfish to think of oneself in light of the loss of another, but I can’t help myself.

I am not young. I am closer to the end than the beginning of my life.

Does anyone else think these morbid thoughts from time to time?

Of course I just keep on living, drink a little less, exercise more (well, I want to exercise) check in on friends…

I say:

It’s time to start living like there’s no tomorrow, because like my mama always said: “it ain’t promised to ya!”


A Great Loss: Pete Special


Oh My God. I just got the shocking and sad news that Pete Special died today. He helped propel me forward in Chicago as a bandleader and singer. Continue reading ›


When I Miss Her Most … thoughts on Mother’s Day 2014

Me & Mommy NYC 1998


I lost my mother on April 14th 2000. It was sudden and upon hearing the news I learned the true meaning of heartbreak. When I got the news that Mommy had passed, I fell to my knees and screamed. The primal scream: I found it that day. But that’s not what I want to dwell on here. Usually, I just let Mother’s Day slip by. But today I want to write a tribute to my dearest love, my mother. All that I am, any goodness in me, came from her. There’s some fucked up shit too but I know that I am a good person with a loving heart and that is because of her. Continue reading ›


Playing the Odds with Our Health.

I am reeling from a scare yesterday. Someone very dear to me suffered a mild stroke in her home. She is younger than I and lives alone. Luckily she was able to get out and get herself to the hospital within an hour of the occurrence so she is expected to recover 100%. But this reminds me of two important things: we must keep track of our loved ones especially those of us who live alone and we need to stop playing the odds with our health especially those of us of a certain age. Continue reading ›


Old Dreamers


This is a note to myself and others like me: underachievers, those with gifts who believe they haven’t fulfilled their potential, those who have been writing a book, play, or dissertation, making a movie, recording a CD, going to a comedy open mic, opening a restaurant, going back to school and haven’t done it yet. We know who we are. I have written about this shit for years: losing weight, writing my one woman show. And I reckon this is just another testament in a long series of promises I have been making to myself for decades. The key is to never give up the dream. The key is action. No, the key is to take action. Can I have a witness?

I am 52 years old and I have struggled with feelings of unfulfilled promise for years. But I am who I am. And I refuse to give up. Not today, because each show that fills me with joy, each effort that I make leads me closer to the goal. I reach out to all of you who feel they are too old to make it happen – as long as you are breathing and able, then it is possible to reach your dream. For every achiever, for every winner there are others drawing upon that energy. Be supportive, be truly happy for the success of others and never stop the hustle. Be positive, don’t look back and let’s make it happen one step at a time.

“We’ve come too far to give up who we are, so let’s raise the bar and our cups to stars.” – Pharrell “Get Lucky”