Monday, February 27, 2012

Ye Olde Colored Theater Presents "God's Step Children - Part 1"

Before Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed" there was Naomi. Well here it is fans, Part 1 of this wonderful 1938 movie directed by Oscar Micheaux that has a combination of elements from the movies "Imitation of Life" (1934) and "These Three" (1936). The story focuses on the young light skinned girl named Naomi who is dropped off by her black mother to black widow Mrs. Saunders who soon grows up to be a troublemaker towards everyone around her as a child, and later as an adult. This movie stars Jacqueline Lewis, Ethel Moses, Alice B. Russell, Gloria Press, and Carman Newsome. There are eight parts in all so I hope you all enjoy this 70 minute classic that is the only known version of the movie at the moment. Certain scenes have been edited out shortly after it's release due to public reaction of them by black audiences that found them offensive. A few of these cut scenes however can still be seen in the film's opening preview trailer (Note: the woman holding baby Naomi in the opening trailer is Trixie Smith, not the woman that plays Naomi's real mother. That's Dorothy Van Engle who was unfortunately uncredited along with Cherokee Thornton who plays Clyde Wade later on in the movie). Also, it took me seven hours to split the parts up in the right spots but it's all worked out perfectly. Remember, this was a low budget movie so it wasn't filmed as sharp as you may want it to look. The picture may be hard to see at times because of the lighting but that only happens a few times.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Within Our Gates (1919) Movie Of The Month

A silent race film produced, written and directed by novelist Oscar Micheaux, it is the oldest known surviving film made by an African-American director.
The film dramatically expresses the racial situation in America during the violent years of Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Migration, and the emergence of the "New Negro". The story focuses on an African-American woman who goes North in an effort to help a minister in the Deep South raise money to keep a school open for poor Black children. Her romance with a black doctor eventually leads to revelations about her family's past that expose the racial skeletons in America's closet, most famously through the film's depiction of a lynching.

Oscar Micheaux
Gene DeAnna (restoration titles), Oscar Micheaux
Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements and James D. Ruffin

I Hear Music- Billie Holiday 1940

"Dream Of Life" Billie Holiday 1939 vocalion

Things That I Think Are Just Plain Stupid

1. Nicki Manaji- Their is nothing more silly then looking at a grown up African American female dressed up and acting like a white Barbie Doll toy... 2. The House of Darion- I love Beyonce but really I don't think of her and her mom when I think couture 3. Jobless or unemployed people with IPHONES and Blackberrys- Can u say priorities first? Geez talk about putting the cart b4 the damn horse! 4. Free porn sites- half the fun was trying to find that stuff back in the days now? Its just all up in our faces cant even get excited personally I feel like a medical doctor looking at a patient when I see pornography these days! 5. Anti virus software that never finds anything but yet and still your computer crashes! 6. Hiring grown, able bodied,healthy, goodlooking men to work in the school system and then acting surprised when they mess around with a 16 year old- Isnt that alot like putting in crack head in a crack house and telling him to keep everything safe?m Theres a reason why those dudes dont want to work too hard trust me! 7. Men on the DL that get on tv and the internet saying they are DL ummmmk aren't you defeating the purpose with that stroke of genius??? 8. People who don't believe in safe sex I mean cmon why not just do us all a favor kill yourself and let the state cremate you it will be cheaper than caring for your dumb ass in the long run. 9. The US government I mean come on why elect a president then let a bunch of people decide what he can or cant do then talk junk about him? 10. Religious people who talk and witness about the Lord and then have sex in parks and cam all night...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New York Drag Culture for the love of Pat Cleveland

I remember the summer of 1987 very well why? Because I went to what is now known as a legendary gay ball. A old fashion Harlem, NY ball held by the Royale House Of Princess in New York. I remember being underage, very skinny, not particularly well dressed and scared to death of the Bronx, NY. I also remember dating a 27 year old by the name of Raymond Moore who knew everyone who was in the ball scene and had a sister that was a model and lived in Chelsea.He loved fashion and was a great dresser in what was then the best style of the day that preppy Polo look. During this time balls were a mostly drag queen affair. The catergories I remember were very limited, they were held in the wee wee hours of the morning after most of the "girls" would come off 3rd ave or the Kentucky strip ( 8th, 9th and 10th ave strolls) it was mostly about beauty and realness and labels(clothes labels) that's why everyone went to these things. Truth be told my mother had a friend that worked at Rikers Island jail in Elmhurst, Queens her name was Miss. Gearldine and she was a member of our church. I knew when a ball was going to be because the "kids" would be in jail for stealing out of Saks, Bergdorf, and Bloomingdales! This before the flyers would even announce the affair! The legendary boosters had the good stuff like Chanel Dior, Ted Lapidus and of course Ralph Laurens Polo No bootleg in those days! The category called "Pieces from a magazine" and during that time when you entered a club an obnoxiuous yet fabulous fem queen would check your label his name was Miss Stacy I adored her/him because they gave me my first Dior shirt and stiff lecture on Herion and drugs and to never drink or smoke anything anyone gave you. also he spent the night in the major department stores and was quite the legend just for that! He was sort of a mentor and I remember him having given me a Chanel tie a big deal to a 8th grader! Also a leather portfolio for my school books. My friends didn't want me to get "Read" because my mother shopped at Macys, Ohrbachs and Sears. So I was the kid everyone just cared about and gave stuff to that I had hell explaining to my Mom where i got it to...My memory serves me correctly inspite of the morals or whatever they were genuinely nice people who looked out for my crew a gang of mangy teenagers that ran 8th avenue from Penn station to west 42nd street. Mostly the majority of this crew died during the AIDS/HIV epidemic that rocked New York City ( RIP) I miss them.
Men that emulated women. New York to me had the top in this category (not to be taken lightly. I had already been on Central Avenue in LA in 1988 with two of my friends and saw the ones that hung at the old waldorf bar no match for NYC in my eye!)due to the popular doctors at the time that made these people beutiful Dr. Felix Schiffman on Park Avenue and Dr. Wallman(sic) in Brooklyn produced legendary beautys such as Candy Lebji, Vanity, Onjanee, Portia and Patasa were a few of the more famous ones during this period that I actually met. For the hustling girls there was a boot leg doctor called "Jimmy Treetop who I remember got accused of selling Monkey hormones" God only knew what these were! drag queens that looked like models that was the big deal in those days . But their were others that were just as famous " Mona" and Silicone Paris were popular for the sheer amounts of work they had (implanted silicone in their bodies) and Mona whose husband beat her and her silicone shifted causeing her to walk with a limp and it had to be scraped out in LA Striking to look, lovely to see was one such person who left me with what can only be described as a gasp and a sigh. "She" was tall and very beautiful light complexed and wore a dress with a white fox cape! Drinking a high ball at the now defunct Sallys Hideway ( formerly Blues bar) which was on west 43rd street I believe off seventh ave. Even though they were whores and drug abusers in my youthful mind this was a new world and it really fasinated me. i didnt want to be LIKE them i did want to be AROUND them. Plus I was a nice looking guy who looked mature and they loved showing me off they never molested me or any of my friends tho. They had morals when it came to that! We all got into this cab and went to the Bronx The Savoy Manor I believe or the Elks Club I cant remember correctly which it was 5 am thats when these events started in those days. One of the people in the cab said "Isnt she giving you Pat Clevland? I had no idea who the hell Pat Clevland even was I had to be about 12 or 13 years old at the time because I was in Junior high School and was just learning the New York City scene as I was raised in Long Island ( The two places are like night and day)Long Island is the country or suburbs and all I knew about was GQ magazine and my mothers Ebony which had a fashion fair section in it. I read it after dark when no one was looking little boys didnt read that type stuff without a lot of questions and funny looks Its amazing the old new York u could do anything and go anywhere underage! However, years went and even more balls in those days their was at least a ball or two a month. The house of lebeji, the house of Wong, Dupree, lebeji yu can call the role on those legendary houses thatthrived before that shit got international it was as columist Cindy use to say "Only in New york Kids!" and I had never even seen a picture of Pat Clevland tho people described her beauty and she was quite popular still even then. Their was no Google in those days so old information was obtained by micro film at the libary or scanning old magazines from garage sales. At that age .....No thank you Sometime in the early 1990s while visiting Colledge Park, Ga a suburb of Atlanta we all went out slumming to a bar called The Marquette or The Queasy to celebrate someone named Nicoles birthday another trans gender that I remember wore her hair like Josephine baker, wore no make up and was a dead ringer for the person I met in New York and watched walk in the house of princess ( Now defunct) ball. The club was owned by a guy named hunter whose father was in the service with my father and later worked as a guard in jackson ga at a State prison their if my memory serves me right. he owned this gay bar alot of ppl probably still remember it. Again I heard someone in our party ask the same question "Doesnt Miss. Nicole give you Pat Clevland? " I remember replying " Looks like Josephine baker to me" My escort at the time a guy from the old Techwood housing projects had driven us to his old home ATL said they call that perfect emulation he can emulate a woman to perfection.....He loved the whole art of it and in those days it was at its peak Well, up to that point the best emulators all seemed to have one thing in common " Looking like Pat Clevland tall, light skinned, and skinny" it was still a few years till I got my first Tandy computer and finally laid eyes on the Great Pat Clevland herself but if you guys are still alive and kicking I am ,putting it in writing " Yes both of them looked like Pat Clevland! enjoy the blog my memories and the bio on this wonderful model and the pictures and Happy February.
Who was Pat Clevaland? (orginally posted by dpbenson) Pat Cleveland -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I searched and searched and was shocked to discover that she does not have her own thread. From One of the first women of color to enjoy worldwide recognition, American model Pat Cleveland got her break when she was 14, after being spotted on the subway by a Vogue editor. She is best known for her playfully over-the-top poses and worked with Valentino, Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent. Also, together with Karen Bjornson and Anjelica Huston she was one of Halston's original models. They were so loyal that they became known as the Halstonettes. Cleveland returned to the runway five years ago, walking at the Bill Blass and Stephen Burrows shows in New York and is now in her late fifties. From Contrary to popular belief, Naomi Campbell is not the runway queen. That title belongs to Pat Cleveland who became the best runway model in fashion history. Affectionately called Cleveland. Pat Cleveland (pictured above to the left) would dominate the runway like no other model. Legendary performer Josephine Baker made it well known, she wanted Cleveland to portray her in a film, if her life story was ever adapted for a movie because Cleveland bore a resemblance to a younger Baker. The things that Cleveland did on the runway; have yet to be duplicated. She had a partner, male model and dance partner, Sterling St. Jacques, pictured above, (son of late actor Raymond St. Jacques), they walked the runway like two graceful black panthers and they were known to break into a Tango. The crowd would stand on their feet in anticipation when they came on stage and they didn't disappoint. At one event, St. Jacques came out carrying Cleveland on his shoulders. They were also dance partners on Soul Train. Pat Cleveland is currently signed with the Legends division of the Ford Modeling Agency. When she isn't working on the modeling circuit, she relaxes at her Chateau in the Swiss Alps. She loves to vacation in Monte Carlo, eating smoked barracuda on private yachts. When she attends Fashion Week in New York, she has reserved ringside seats and she's treated like royalty. Read more: Pat Cleveland - the Fashion Spot

Dorothea Towles " The making of a legend"

Before Pat Cleland, Naomi Campbell or Iman Their was the lovely Parisian African American model Dorothea Trowles her life story reads like an exciting fairy tale and her beauty exquisite. I first stumbled upon her name while cleaning a elderly neighbors home Mr. Boynton here in Brooklyn, New York he had old copies of Jet magazines laying around the house very casually I might add. Imagine my surprise when my ex and I were looking and I noticed the date and it was a 1950 something issue and in the usual Jet magazine layout among other pictures was a picture of Ms. Towles- Church . I took a picture of the cover I dont think cell phones had camereas then this was in the mid 1990s Mr. Boynton wasnt keen on letting kids take his prize posessions and I posted on the now defunct danger web site. A then popular website for the cellular phone known as the Sidekick. During the closing of the official "Black History month" I am choosing to celebrate with you her beauty. She was the consumate professional often seen on Diors and Balmains runway which to this day is the signature look of the 1950's ( Think New look 1947 created by Christian Dior") enjoy her shadow on these pages with a bio from wikepedia....
Early life Church was born in Texarkana, Texas. She was the seventh of eight children in a farming family. She attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where she majored in biology. After her mother's death, a wealthy uncle invited her to move into his house in Los Angeles. She transferred to the University of Southern California, where she received a master's degree in education. Church is of African American descent. [edit] Modeling career Church initially considered an acting career, but was discouraged by the lack of roles for black actors. She enrolled in the Dorothy Farrier Charm and Modeling School in Los Angeles. She found work modeling for magazines with a black readership and in fashion shows on the West Coast. Her sister, Lois Towles, sang in the Fisk University concert choir during its European tour in 1949. Church scheduled a two-month vacation in Paris that coincided with the Fisk choir's concert schedule. While in Paris, Church decided to try out for some modeling assignments. Christian Dior hired her on the spot to replace one of his regular models who was out on vacation.[1] Church found Paris so inviting that she decided to stay in France. She told her husband, a wealthy dentist several years her senior, that she wouldn't be returning to California. Church also designed her own gowns with samples she bought from Paris designers using her model's discount. In 1954 she returned to the United States and began a tour of black colleges, showcasing her couture line. Her fashion shows served as fund-raisers for Alpha Kappa Alpha, a sorority for black women. She later signed as a model with the Grace del Marco agency in New York City. Shortly after moving to New York she met Thomas Church, an immigration lawyer. They married in 1963 and had one son. They remained married until Thomas Church's death in 2000. [edit] Racial Barriers Church was revered in France during the five years she modeled in Paris. Church recalled her experience in Paris of the early 1950s in a 2004 interview for Women's Wear Daily: "For once I was not considered black, African American or Negro. I was just an American." The French fashion establishment "treated you like a queen," she said.[citation needed] In her 1998 book Black and Beautiful, author Barbara Summers quotes Church about her celebrity status in Paris at the beginning of the 1950s: "I got invited out all the time. I was the only black model in Europe and I just thought I was an international person." Church was not totally immune to prejudice in Paris, however. Pierre Balmain would not allow her to borrow his designs for an Ebony Magazine shoot out of concern Balmain's white clientele would be offended.[citation needed] [edit] Death Church died at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. Her death was attributed to heart and kidney disease.