A repository of Lady Dove's musings on arts, entertainment and culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympic Athlete: Tiffany Ross-Williams!

It is with a deep sense of pride and gratitude that I send out best wishes, thanks, praise and congratulations to my cousin, Tiffany Ross-Williams, who competed in Bejing, China, at the 2008 Olympics! She ran in the Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles. Tiffany, we are all so very proud of you! All of your years of dedication and hard work paid off. Stay strong. We hope to see you in London for the 2012 Olympic games. Go Tiffany!!!!!
God Bless,
Lady Dove

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Isaac Hayes Last Words Spoken to Me: The Lady Dove - Part I of II

Soul Legend Dead 10 Days Shy of Birthday
Would Have Been 66 Today: August 20, 2008

More than a week has passed since we received the shocking news of the deaths of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. However my thoughts and prayers are still with these legendary entertainment icons and their loved ones. Especially Isaac Hayes.

Not only have I been a huge Isaac Hayes fan since he emerged as a superstar during the early 1970s, I was also perhaps the last print journalist that he granted an interview to prior to his death. We spoke on the telephone Wednesday, August 6th, from him home in Memphis, Tennessee. Subsequently, the article that started out as a feature story evolved into an obituary that appeared on the front page of the Philadelphia Tribune on Tuesday, August 12th.


What about the stroke you suffered a few years ago? How’s the recovery process coming along?
“I had an illness – had a stroke – but I got past that. The stroke was due to undetected high blood pressure. I had to learn how to do everything over again. I couldn’t count. I had to relearn how to read. I had to learn how to swim. Everything. I forgot everything. My advice is that if you’ve got high blood pressure, you’d better watch it. Watch very carefully.”

Mr. Hayes said he even had to relearn all of his music and that during recent concerts he had to place the words to the songs on a music stand onstage.
“In order to get well,” he continued, “I just did all the programs they do when you have a stroke. I ate right after that. You get a stroke, you eat right then.”

How’s Your Energy Level? How is Life After the Stroke?
“It’s good. I swim now. I haven’t mastered it yet but I will. The program they have me on – therapy – all kind of stuff like that. I’m getting stronger and stronger every day. I’m strong, mentally.

“You have to tell people about these things – strokes and all that stuff. When I had that stroke, I didn’t know nothin' and I had to come back. Since then I’ve been doing gigs and all that stuff now. Three or four weeks ago I was in Pittsburgh. I had strings and all that stuff. I did a show there and blew the people away.”

How did you come up with the music for the soundtrack to the movie “Shaft”? Can you describe your creative process?
“When I wrote Shaft it was a good time. Gordon Parks commissioned me to do it. It took three days to do the music. On the first day I wrote the music. On the second day I did the horns and the strings. And on the third day I wrote the lyrics. Yeah, I wrote that album in three days. I just did it.”

What are your fondest memories about “Shaft” and the Academy Award?
“When I won the Academy Award, my grandmother was my date. I met Charlie Chaplin that night too. He had been in exile. When I went over to his table, he congratulated me and all that stuff. My grandmother told me, ‘Don’t worry about it. You gonna’ win.’ When they called my name and I went on stage, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joel Grey were backstage. Sammy was saying, ‘I told you! I told you!’ That was a great time.”

Where Do You Keep Your Oscar Statue?
“I got it here. I keep it in my living room. They’re so many awards; I’ve gotten all kinds of awards since then.”

“All kinds of awards” indeed. And now, my beloved, the legendary Isaac Hayes is the recipient of his greatest award, which is actually his reward in heaven: Yes, Isaac Hayes’ greatest reward is his ascension from this earth plane to heaven. May God Rest Your Soul Isaac Hayes. God Rest Your Mighty, Mighty Soul.

Asante Sana & Amen,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lady Dove's article on Issac Hayes in The Philadelphia Tribune

Click here to read the article I wrote on the late, great Issac Hayes that appeared in today’s Philadelphia Tribune.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rest In Peace Issac Hayes - August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008 - Part I of II

I received a call from Joe “Butterball” Tamburro, Program Director at Clear Channel’s WDAS-FM, on Sunday, August 10th informing me that Isaac Hayes had passed away. Lord have mercy. I had just interviewed Isaac Hayes last week.

One of the most electrifying performers and legendary icons in the history of soul music, Isaac Hayes was 65 years old; it was just ten days prior to his 66th birthday. At the time of his death, Mr. Hayes was preparing for a reunion concert celebrating 50 years of Stax Records, along with his label mates William Bell, Eddie Floyd and the Bar-Kays. He had been scheduled to appear at Philadelphia’s Mann Music Center on Friday, August 15, 2008.

On Wednesday, August 6th, Mr. Hayes was gracious enough to give me a telephone interview in anticipation of the concert, for a freelance story I was contributing to the Philadelphia Tribune. What started out as a preview and feature article suddenly is an obituary, a tribute, an appreciation.

The epitome of cool, Mr. Hayes’ signature style was characterized by his clean-shaven head, dark glasses and at the height of his fame, the gold chains worn against his bare chest and taut torso. He first gained recognition as a songwriter and session artist for Stax Records, backing up such legendary singers as Otis Redding. Later, he became the label’s premiere act; the 1969 release of “Hot Buttered Soul” catapulted him into stardom. From 1997 to 2006 he originated the voice of “Chef,” a character on “South Park,” the Comedy Central animated television series.
As a singer-songwriter, film score composer, arranger, producer, band leader, and instrumentalist, Hayes contributed some of the most enduring contemporary music recorded during the last half of the 20th century, most notably the film score for the 1971 motion picture, Shaft, which garnered him a 1972 Academy Award and two Grammy Awards.
Also known as “Black Moses,” coined after the release of his 1971 album of the same title, Mr. Hayes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. He thrilled audiences with hits featuring lush arrangements, including “The Theme From Shaft,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “Do Your Thing,” “By the Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Walk on By,” “I Stand Accused,” “The Look of Love,” and a plethora of others. He was also a radio show host, and an actor of merit, having appeared in dozens of feature films. Not only is Isaac Hayes entertainment royalty he was actually coronated a king in the West African nation of Ghana because of his humanitarian efforts. Truly he will be missed. Thank God for the legacy he left behind.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rest In Peace Bernie Mac

The comedian and actor, Bernie Mac passed away today at the age of 50. Comedy is truly an artform and Bernie's talent will be missed. I will pray for his family and loved ones.

Image: CNN.com (Getty Images)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Prayers, Premonitions & the Passionate Pursuit of Perfection - Part V of V

Once my writing mission on Stanley Clarke and the Return to Forever reunion concert is accomplished, the rest of the weekend, (Aug. 1st, 2nd & 3rd) is all about family fun and food and fellowship and festivities. We went to the Jungle Island Theme Park and to the beach and to the pool. We walked along South Beach and we saw all the sights at the Lincoln Road Mall.

We visited the Old Dillard African American Museum in Fort Lauderdale, formerly Dillard High School, which was the first one in the area built exclusively to educate Black students. The museum’s Jazz Room featured memorabilia associated with the luminous alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley , an alum of the Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk bands and former music teacher at the Old Dillard High School. And, surprise of all surprises, the Jazz Room also mentioned Philadelphia’s own brilliant vibraphonist, Khan Jamal, claiming him as one of Florida’s most esteemed native sons, because although he was raised in Philadelphia, he was actually born in Jacksonville.

That Sunday morning, (Aug. 3rd) we had a happy good time in prayer, praise, music and worship, at the United Christian Church of Christ in Coconut Grove. My cousin, Dr. Marthenia Dingle Dupree, who is the pastor of the church and daughter of its founder, Bishop Irving Dingle, led the service. Then…like all good times…the Dingle Family Reunion Weekend had to end.

But I felt so blessed and so fulfilled I wasn’t even too tired to have a great day at work on Monday (Aug. 4th) with my esteemed colleagues in the Office of Strategic Partnerships. During my midday break, I meet up with my buddies Herb Green and Charlie DiPatri in the IT lab for our “write lunch.” We catch up on each others’ projects, encourage each other in our dreams and aspirations. At some point the conversation eases into a peaceful quietude. We all turn to face our computer screens. I begin to chip away ever so gently at this essay I’ve been working on for my next book project. Way too soon, it is time for us to return to our respective duties and stations.

After work, I am still pumped up, ultimately inspired enough to write this, my very first series of blog entries. It is such an honor to take you on this Cultural Collideoscope. Thanks for joining me. And please, stay along for the journey, my personal, transformation journey. Asante Sane. Abundant Blessings. Peace & Love.
Lady Dove

Image: Old Dillard Museum (http://www.broward.k12.fl.us/olddillardmuseum/home/index.html)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prayers, Premonitions, & the Passionate Pursuit of Perfection - Part IV of V

While I am responsible to the work required of me on my day job, I am also working double and triple overtime making my life happen, taking my quantum leap. For example, a few months ago I took a part-time job as a freelance writer for a local newspaper, the Philadelphia Tribune, so I could get my writing chops up, get published, and get paid all in one fell swoop. (This is how I wound up in Paris, France, covering the Richard Wright Centennial.)

This freelance venture has also allowed me to expand and expound on my own personal Cultural Collideoscope. Take these past few days, for example. On Thursday, July 31st, after I had clocked out from the day gig, a couple of hours before I was scheduled to fly to Miami, Florida for our family reunion, I get a call from the publicist for Grammy Award-winning bassist and beloved Philadelphia native son Stanley Clarke. She’s offering to arrange a phone interview to talk about his involvement with the extraordinary Return to Forever reunion world tour that arrives in Philly on Tuesday, August 5th.

Instead of asking why she took two weeks to return my call, whining about the short turnaround time and explaining how I was leaving for vacation, I said, “Sure. When is he available?” Then I contact my editor, Mike Bruton, get the story on the docket, and promise to have the article to him in time for his Friday deadline so that it can appear in the Sunday, August 3rd edition of the paper. I tell my sisters, Esther and Stephanie and my daughter, Shenneth, that I may be somewhat distracted on Friday, but that after my story is filed, I will engage in all of the family activities full out. (And, because everyone was so accommodating, that is exactly what I did.)

In the meantime, I catch my flight. I wake up nice and early in Miami on Friday morning (Aug. 1st), take a relaxing jog along the stretches of sand, work up a good healthy sweat, then totally immerse myself in the Atlantic Ocean, after which I return to my beach front hotel room in plenty of time to get the creative process started. I put on a full court press with the research, lined up my supporting interviews, and spoke with bass phenom Stanley Clarke on the phone while overlooking the cooling aquamarine and turquoise ocean waters. Then I get busy piecing my story together. Everything worked out in divine perfect order: Thanks to publicists Lynda Bramble and Melissa Kaupke. Thanks to Stanley Clarke for a most inspiring interview. And, many, many thanks to my homies: bassist Warren Oree, saxophonist Byard Lancaster, percussionist Omar Hill and WRTI-FM Radio Host of “The Bridge,” J. Michael Harrison. They all schooled me and informed me and put me in touch with all the right sources so I could get my story done with authority, accuracy and integrity.

Later that afternoon, after getting hugs from my Aunt Rhoda Dingle, I met my cousin Janice Dingle Hunter on the terrace by the pool for refreshments. I took my laptop with me. Taking the break proved to be beneficial, rejuvenating. The inspiration flowed. Because she is in the midst of working on her doctoral thesis, Janice understood my compulsory writing situation all too well; she graciously allowed me my space, and (Praise God), I was able to finish and file my story.

Image: Stanley Clark

Prayers, Premonitions, & the Passionate Pursuit of Perfection - Part III of V

As we continue on this mystical odyssey, please know that right here, right now, at this very moment, I am being transported from the routines of my everyday work-a-day-life to my most enchanting existence. You see, I have this day job at the School District of Philadelphia, which in many ways I absolutely adore, but it’s been five years now. And life holds so much more adventure, so many more treasures and fantastical episodes than I could ever realize while being confined to a cubicle-ized environment. I long to be liberated from the stifling strait jacket of the corporate culture that so often traps free spirits, creative souls. I realize the blessing that this job has been: the financial security; the comprehensive benefits package; the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with; the contributions I have made to my field of endeavor as a grant writer, researcher and administrator, procuring funds and managing programs for a historically underserved and disenfranchised population of students and teachers. And of course, I am ever so grateful for the skills and knowledge that I have gained. However I also realize it’s time to move on. My writing life is calling me. My spoken word is calling me. My wanderlust is calling me. My muse is sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear.

Prayers, Premonitions, & the Passionate Pursuit of Perfection - Part II of V

On this odyssey I write about iconic figures like the late great legendary drummer Max Roach. I catch up with saxophonist Odean Pope to hear about the latest recordings, configurations and global tour dates of his quartet and renowned Odean Pope Saxophone Choir.

I am humbled when bassist Tyrone Brown invites me into the studio to add my spoken word poetry to his most recent recording project, which also includes the awesome violinist John Blake. Come with me as I meet up with artist and writer Faith Ringgold who has amazing painted “story-quilts” on display in the gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Take a ride to New York City’s Bowery Poetry Club with a caravan of devotees from Philly who sojourned there to celebrate the birthday of the featured poet, Lamont Steptoe.

Revel as I do when listening to the sparkling clarity of songbird Jill Scott’s golden voice in concert at the Liacouras Center on Temple University’s campus. Sit in the audience beside me at the Annenberg Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, mesmerized by the magical song and dance performance art of Angelique Kidjo, a unique brand that she brings to us all the way from Benin, West Africa. Trigger your imagination as I do the same at the Performance Garage for the Jeanne Ruddy Dance Company’s searing, soul-searching concert series.

Relax with me on the waterfront at Penn’s Landing for a spectacular outdoor concert featuring Ledisi and Lalah Hathaway. Join me under the full moon of the summer solstice in the famed Latin Quarter in Paris, France, where I am so very privileged to re-trace all the favorite haunts of the prolific writer, Richard Wright, as a member of the press corps at the International Richard Wright Centennial, which was convened to honor the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Image: Richard Wright Centennial Website

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prayers, Premonitions & the Pursuit of Perfection - Part I of V

Hello. This is Lady Dove aka Pheralyn Dove. Enter my Cultural Collideoscope and come along with me on my Personal Transformation Journey. Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Now is the Time. Believe and Receive. Reap What You Sow. This blog is all about my personal transformation, my manifest destiny. Its path is an unchartered course of arts and culture: navigating through time zones and across oceans, traveling over mountains, traversing in and out of airspace, roaming around land forms.

Come along with me as I activate the law of attraction, employ the principles of quantum physics, engage my passions and live the most marvelous life I could ever imagine. Stay with me in this perpetual state of gratitude that I have encountered. Watch what happens as I bring you stories about arts and entertainment and culture. Learn with me as I delve into issues while examining diverse people and places spanning cultures and continents and generations and genres.