The DL Chronicles Returns is Another Triumph for Gossett and LeNear

timthumb.phpImage courtesy of 2 Cents Productions.

SWERV Magazine recently sponsored the DC premier screening of The DL Chronicles Returns: Episode Thomas.  The film is another triumphant work from the ever-talented, award-winning filmmakers Deondray Gossett and Quincy LeNear.  

The DL Chronicles Returns premiered to a packed theatre at DC’s Navy Memorial.  Fans have been anticipating the return of this groundbreaking film series for a few years.  The DL Chronicles made history when it appeared on Here! TV, as it was the first television series to the depict stories about gay and bisexual men of color living on the DL (down-low).  Winner of the 2008 GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-Series,” The DL Chronicles was heralded by critics and fans alike for painting realistic portraits that challenged the notions and stereotypes of the DL phenomenon.

The screening began with the The Chadwick Journals.  Originally released in late 2011, The Chadwick Journals is a four-part web miniseries which “centers on The DL Chronicles’ narrator, Chadwick Williams, in the beginning of his research into men who lead double lives” (2 Cents Productions). Aside from providing deeper insights into the lives of men of color on the DL, this winsome miniseries unveils the painful motivation behind Williams’ research (which will ultimately lead to his healing and that of many others).

Promptly following The Chadwick Journals was The DL Chronicles Returns: Episode ThomasEpisode Thomas is the story of a man “who has not experienced love in a way he truly desires. After a tragic, life-changing event, he falls in love with someone who’s come to assist him” (MUSED).  Not to give too much away, Thomas’ brooding outlook soon changes once he embraces his truth, opens up, and allows real, unconditional love to come into his life.  Gabriel Arthur Corbin (as Thomas), Johanny Paulino, DeLaRosa Rivera, and Damien Toofeek Raven (as Chadwick Williams) all star in the film.

deondraygossett&quincylenearImage courtesy of 2 Cents Productions.

Beautifully shot and directed, The DL Chronicles Returns: Episode Thomas is exemplary.  The writing, acting, and quality of the production continue to set Gossett and LeNear apart from their peers.  This factor was consistently praised by members of the audience during the Q & A which followed the screening.  The Q & A was facilitated by the engaging, spirited, funny, and legendary Rayceen Pendarvis.  Pendarvis called Gossett and LeNear leaders, and commended them for being authentic and letting their light shine.  

Gossett and LeNear are empowering themselves and our community by using their art to tell our stories.  Ours are stories that are rarely acknowledged or praised.  Make no mistakeour lives, our voices, our truth have value.  As Pendarvis said, “Everyone needs to see [The DL Chronicles Returns] because our stories are so worthy!”

Do yourself a favor and check out The DL Chronicles Returns when it comes to your city.  And be sure to spread the word.  Quality projects such as The DL Chronicles Returns deserve our support. 

Buddah’s Thoughts

  1. I was really psyched about seeing Beyonce on tour – until I found out how much the tickets were. I just can’t bring myself to pay $100+ for the nosebleed section at the Verizon Center. Plus, I’m in debt payoff mode and saving for new furniture and vacation. I had to prioritize. Looks like Bey will have to wait. I can catch the I AM…. Tour on DVD. I know, I know – it’s not the same…. But financial stability (and maintaining it) is more important.
  2. My boyfriend and I saw the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie Friday night. We loved it! The plot, the acting, the special effects, cinematography – all top notch! I have to admit I thought this was much better than X-Men 3….
  3. Well, the media is up to its old tricks again – fear mongering…. And you should already know what I’m referring to when I say…. The coverage of the swine flu. Living in fear – didn’t we get tired of this under the Bush Administration? Has anyone learned anything yet? Being afraid is not going to help us get over this pandemic any sooner. We need to be prudent and do our best to safeguard ourselves. We have to be a little smarter about this folks…. And looking to the media is not always the answer….
  4. And is there anything else to report on other than Miss California’s viewpoints on marriage? It’s overkill at this point. Who care? This is America. Everyone can say or feel what they want. The problem comes in when you are browbeating others into thinking, feeling, and believing the same way. I have no problem with her viewpoints. I don’t agree with them but it’s not stopping me from believing what I believe or how I’m living my life. (See my post On Marriage for more.)
  5. There are certain things that shouldn’t be discussed at work. Politics, sex, religion, certain aspects of relationships…. I could go on and on. You usually have discussions about this at orientation and get documentation from HR regarding this…. But people do it anyway. You need to however, be very careful because you never know who is listening and who might be offended by what is said regarding any of the topics listed above. Oh the conversations that I’ve heard – it’s mind boggling. Thank god I can tune things out with music…. It’s been my saving grace many-a-day.
  6. It’s amazing how deep connections can be between friends. It doesn’t matter what happens, the distance between you, how often you see or speak to each other – there’s something that just keeps you linked. You can pick up where you left off with ease. You remain each other’s constant supporters. I’ve noticed this so often with my closest friends. It’s truly a great thing!
  7. I have ongoing issues with mainstream music. I’m not sure when or where everything went amok but very little seems to fascinate me. As I get older, I seem to fall in love more and more with “grown folks music”. Music that not only sounds good but has a purpose. It makes you think, feel, laugh, cry, dance…. It’s real, never contrived. It doesn’t follow trends and isn’t derived from some tired, ole formula. It’s art. And it’s obvious when listening and seeing artists perform that they do it for the love of music and not for the money.
  8. I’m looking forward to hearing Chrisette Michele’s new album, Epiphany, to be released this Tuesday, May 5th. Her debut was one of 2007’s best R&B/Soul releases. And I expect nothing but great music on the new release. I can’t stop playing “Epiphany” and “What You Do”. And I just heard “Blame It On Me” on Saturday (and that may become a new favorite as well).
  9. Can you believe it – Maxwell has new music coming out? The first part of his trilogy BLACKsummers’night will be released on July 7th. The first single “Pretty Wings” is a masterpiece. It’s classic Maxwell and a welcomed addition to keep in rotation. It’s been 8 years since his last studio album. If “Pretty Wings” is any indication – it’ll be well worth the wait.
  10. I’m really looking forward to the summer. Being able to catch up on my reading. Hanging out with friends and family. Going to concerts and other events. The beach. Vacation. And spending quality time with my baby…. 🙂
  11. After a long break, I’ll be heading back to the gym. I paid for a new membership at Bally’s this Saturday (great deal by the way – $29.99 a month/no initiation fee). I’ll be working out at least 3 days a week. I’ve lost about 8-10 pounds without working out. It’s now time to up the ante. The goal is to be healthier and stronger. Gotta make life changes and stick to them.

Oh well, that’s it for me. Got to finish getting ready for the work week. Until next time, peace, love, and many blessings!

The Year the Movies Slumped

A recent poll conducted by AOL/Associated Press said 73% of people prefer to view movies in the comfort of their own home. Could this be one of the main reasons for what the industry leaders and experts are calling a movie slump? Possibly.

The movie industry has been crying for attention after announcing a 19-week ticket sales slump earlier in the summer. Ticket sales have been sub-par in comparison with those of the same time period last year. But is there really a need to worry? People are still going to the movies in droves, right? Yes, but nowhere near as much as they used to.

I remember hearing stories from my mother and grandmother about their trips to the movie theaters. They would go just about every weekend. Several hours were spent in the theaters. Siblings and neighborhood pals would tag along with homemade snack bags in hand. I even recall pretty regular trips to the theaters with family and friends. This has since stopped. As far as my family and inner circle of friends are concerned, it seems that we are more inclined to wait for movies to come out on VHS or DVD than to go to the theaters. Judging from recent reports, we aren’t alone. For the most part, the movie viewing experience is better at home. You can watch movies at your own leisure, with little or no interruptions, and without spending too much extra money (if any). For a group of 3 going to the movie theaters today, you’re looking at about $50 dollars for tickets and food (and this maybe too cheap an estimate).

While the movie industry seems to use this trend as an excuse for why movies aren’t doing as well, they seem to be forgetting something. And that is the role they play in the success or failure of movies. I can give another reason directly linked to the movie industry for this slump–the abundance of bad movies. Quality has been severly lacking.

Usually when I’m eating my breakfast in the morning, I tend to look at old movies until it’s time to go to work. As of late, I’ve seen Jezebel, The Little Foxes, Carmen Jones, Casablanca, All About Eve, and a A Streetcar Named Desire to name a few. Many of these movies I’ve watched on more than one occasion. I fall in love with these movies even more after each viewing. I’d find myself not being able to take my eyes off of the screen. I was captivated by Old Hollywood’s screen legends. Their talent, their beauty, their timeless appeal – totally amazing. These were movies with plots (yes, plots). No unnecessary violence and special effects. And little to no sex. Sex was often alluded to but it was never as forward or raunchy as it is in many movies today.

They just don’t make movies like they used to. Today it seems like you can have all the star power, the special effects, the cinematography, and all the bells and whistles you could dream of….But if the movie is bad, it’s bad. None of these features will save it. No amount of marketing or promotion can make up for it either. In the old days, the studios didn’t need to spend as much to promote movies. People just went to the movies (and on more of a regular basis). Not to say that there weren’t any bad movies then. Even then, bad movies were made. But just not as many as there are now in my opinion. For me, you can go back to the summer of 1997 when Batman & Robin and Speed 2: Cruise Control were released (two of the worst films ever made). From that point on, the quality of summer blockbusters and movies in general has declined. Ever since then, I could count on my hands how many times I’d go to the movies in year.

Another issue is the kinds of movies the studios are making. We’ve been witnessing the era of rehashes and remakes. Movies packaged as new films when they’re nothing but updated versions of older and in some cases more recent movies. There’s also movies inspired by TV shows (and often times mediocre TV shows at best). We also have a lot of movies that can be lumped into the same category with the same actors stuck in the same roles (typically these buppie, yuppie romantic comedies). And last but not least, we cannot forget about the sequels and prequels. Sometimes you’ve just got to say enough is enough. I’m probably not alone when I say I haven’t been impresesed lately.

I say the same thing to Hollywood as I say to the music industry….Maybe if you stopped worrying about the money and put out more quality products, you wouldn’t be in the predicament you’re in now. If you did this then just maybe people might start going to the theaters a little bit more. Though this slump may be a major point of concern for the movie industry, there’s no need for everyone to get their panties and jockstraps caught in a wad. Every industry has periods when sales don’t match expectations. When this happens however, it’s never a bright idea to put the blame completely on external factors. Especially when you have not looked at how you may have contributed to the situation at hand. In the meantime, get better screenplays. Start telling unconventional stories. Showcase stories with issues that touch on the multicultural and multiracial makeup of this world. Don’t get too crazy with the graphics and the violence. Try to create movies with less violence, less sex, and more substance. Try to spread the wealth. Give some of these actors we see on screen all the time a run for their money. And maybe if you create better work, we’ll see better performances all around. If you take all of these things into consideration, just maybe we’ll see a change. Just maybe you’ll be able to bring the people back into the movie theaters in droves again.

I’m not giving up hope though. The movie industry doesn’t seem to be giving up hope either. There’s a considerable amount of faith being put behind many of the fall movie releases like to Hong Kong and the fourth Harry Potter installment. There’s hope that these movies will bring the industry out of its current slump. It’s going to take more than just a few blockbusters to get out of this slump. You’ve got to start on the inside. Otherwise, that premier on cable or the sale at the home video store is going to become even more attractive.