All posts by Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) www.amazon.com. He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.
ron brewington lester & willie

Comedian/Ventriloquist Willie Tyler & Lester on ActorsE Chat with Ron Brewington

Ron Brewington, Lester, Willie Tyler

Ron Brewington (L) interviews Lester (center) and Willie Tyler

*(Hollywood, CA) –  Legendary ventriloquist Willie Tyler and his partner from the “wood” Lester appeared live on ActorsE Chat, Friday, April 24th with host Ron Brewington.

It’s a wonderful interview as Tyler tells how he got his first big break with Motown Records in the 1960’s. The anecdotes fly as Lester responds when asked questions like if he smokes; or gives an account of his offer to join the group Earth Wind & Fire – it’s hilarious!! I once met Tyler and could not resist asking “Where’s Lester?” He replied, “Oh he’s around here somewhere…chasing women!” He’s a funny guy!

Willie Tyler is an American ventriloquist, comedian and actor. He has appeared in many television commercials, sitcoms and movies. He got his first big TV break on the Merv Griffin Show. In 1972 he appeared many times on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in.

During the program, Tyler discusses:

  • His decision to become a ventriloquist.
  • Explaining the expression “throwing your voice.”
  • Performing in all kinds of venues – comedy clubs, colleges, Las Vegas hotels and corporate shows in 50 states doing what he loves best – making people laugh!
  • 1969 appearance on “Motown At The Hollywood Palace” with Diana Ross and The Supremes, Gladys Knight and The Pips, The Jackson Five and special guest Stevie Wonder.
  • Touring for 8 years as an emcee with Motown greats Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson &The Miracles, The Temptations and The Four Tops.
  • Working with greats Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lou Rawls, Dolly Parton, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Mandrell and many others.
  • Still loving to perform after more than 40 years.
  • Discusses the future of ventriloquism.

Tyler was born in Red Level, Alabama, and raised in Southeast Detroit, Michigan. He attended Detroit’s Northeaster High School in the late 1950’s. He is the father of Tarince Tyler, and actor Cory Tyler.

Watch:

ActorsE Chat is a live one-hour program that is seen Monday through Friday worldwide to over 6-million viewers. It has aired since 2009, and has had more than 1,400 guests. ActorsE Chat is a presentation of Pepper Jay Productions LLC / Actors Podcast Network

robert guillaume

Robert ‘Benson’ Guillaume Chats with ActorsReporter’s Ron Brewington

Robert Guillaume

Robert Guillaume

*Ron Brewington sits down with actor, singer, and author Robert Guillaume who candidly talks about his successful career as a television and stage actor.

Robert Guillaume is best known for his work in television where he has earned two Emmy Awards and four NAACP Image Awards. He has had a distinguished career as a dramatic film actor and an accomplished musical performer. He garnered a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Nathan Detroit in the Broadway production of “Guys and Dolls” and received rave reviews during his run as the star of the Los Angeles production of “Phantom of the Opera.”

It was as the irascible Benson DuBois that Guillaume won his two Emmy Awards. The first for Best Supporting Actor on “Soap” in 1979, the second for Best Actor in 1985, after the Benson character moved on to the series bearing his name. Robert Guillaume 2

He guided the character through the positions of butler, state budget director, and finally Lieutenant Governor, a transformation that is rarely seen in characters on television today.

Raised in St. Louis by his maternal grandmother Jeannette, Guillaume interrupted his education with a stint in the United States Army. After his discharge, he attended St. Louis University as a business administration major, and Washington University as a voice major; for a while suppressing his true ambition of becoming the first Black tenor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Born with the makings of a brilliant classical voice, Robert’s talent was recognized by Washington University’s Leslie Chabay, who arranged a scholarship for him to the Aspen (Colorado) Music Festival. This appearance led to a major turning point – Guillaume’s apprenticeship at Cleveland’s Karamu Theatre. There, under the tutelage of Russell and Rowina Jellife, he made his semi-professional debut in both opera and musical comedy.

It wasn’t long after Guillaume moved from Cleveland to New York City that he became one of stage’s best-reviewed young actors. His critical triumphs included “Kwamina,” “Bambouche,” “Tambourines to Glory,” “Othello,” “Porgy and Bess,” “Apple Pie,” and “Jacques Brel.” He went on to even greater acclaim playing leads in “Purlie” and “Golden Boy;” and, of course in “Guys and Dolls,” for his Tony-nominated performance as Nathan Detroit. Guillaume has starred in theatrical films, including “The Lion King,” “Meteor Man,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “Seems Like Old Times,” “Lean on Me,” and “Death Warrant.” His work in television has included “John Grin’s Christmas” (which he also directed), “The Penthouse,” “The Kid with the Broken Halo,” “The Kid With the 200 IQ,” “Greyhounds,” “Children of the Dust,” “Panic in the Skies,” “His Bodyguard,” “Silicon Towers,” and “North and South.”

“As a television performer on ‘Soap,’ ‘Benson,’ ‘The Robert Guillaume Show,’ and ‘Pacific Station,’ I sought consciously to avoid the stereotypical sociological traps,” says Guillaume. “I always wanted kids of any background to understand the characters I’ve portrayed were real, that the solutions they found were true and possible. It has always been important to me to stress that there was no diminution of power or universality just because my characters are African-Americans.”

Guillaume has also been the recipient of the prestigious Grammy Award for his reading of “The Lion King” book (on audiotape) in the voice of the beloved character, Rafiki. In 1992, Robert and his wife Donna Brown Guillaume, a producer, founded the Confetti Entertainment Company. The company publishes read-along books and tapes, and inspired the award-winning animated HBO television series, “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child.” The series showcases traditional fairy tales, with characters voiced by a multi-ethnic cast of celebrities. Robert’s voice is featured as the narrator of each episode. Guillaume has recorded three CDs which are available on iTunes and soon can be purchased at this website: RobertGuillaume.com . Classic songs from “Phantom of the Opera” as well as many beloved standards are included in his collections.

In addition to his work as a performer, Robert Guillaume has generously given both time and resources to numerous charitable and social organizations, among them, TransAfrica, AmFar, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, the Special Olympics, and is a founding member of Artists for a New South Africa. TV audiences enjoyed Guillaume every week for two seasons as “Isaac Jaffe,” executive producer of a national cable sports news show, on the ABC series “Sports Night.” He was featured in the 2003 Tim Burton film “Big Fish” starring Albert Finney and Jessica Lange, where he played a small town Southern doctor and was seen in the drama “Century City,” which aired on CBS.

Recently Guillaume directed a one-man show, “Looking Over the President’s Shoulder,” at the American Negro Playwright Theatre at Tennessee State University and recently completed shooting an independent film, “Jack Satin.” He also played a wheeling-dealing gambler last season on CSI: Crime Scene Investigations. Recently Guillaume spoke at a conference in San Jose, California on behalf of the American Stroke Association and was featured in a May 2010 issue of Jet Magazine. Guillaume is also an author of books and audio CDs. His works include Guillaume: A Life (with David Ritz);This is the Moment and Take a Look at Yourself: Secrets and Musings (with brother-in-law and friend, co-author, and partner, fellow actor John Wesley).

Click here for the interview: http://www.actorsreporter.com/2015/interviews/execlusive-interview-with-actor-and-singer-robert-guillaume-benson/

Robert Guillaume’s Website Ron Brewington on History Makers

Additional Interesting Robert Guillaume links: The Lion King, narrated by Robert Guillaume, the voice actor for Rafiki The Lion King, narrated by Robert Guillaume, the voice actor for Rafiki –

Robert Guillaume Sings Music of the Night Benson Carols Around the Piano – Circa 1980’s Clip from Soap: The Tates and the

Campbells meet Peter Circa 1977

Angels

Cloth, Linen and Two Angels

Angels

*This is not an attempt at an exegesis by any stretch, but sometimes as we read the Bible things just leap out at us. After the crucifixion, Jesus was placed in the tomb and after he arose from the dead – according to John 20:6,7 – “Peter saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded by itself, separate from the linen.” It seems to say “mission accomplished” by the head (folded cloth), and is saying to the body (linen) “I’ve shown you the way.”

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the head of the church and we are the body – the “body of Christ.” Ephesians 1:10,22 reads: “[God] purposed in Christ, to put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, [that is Christ]…And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body…” The church is being built upon our faith, our belief, our obedience and commitment to spreading the gospel. We should let our light so shine that others might see Christ in us.

Then there were the “…two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and one at the foot” [John 20:12] who appeared in the tomb after Jesus rose from the dead; who witnessed and testified to what had taken place. Likewise it was said of the two angels in Revelation 11:4 “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.” Could these be the same two that were in the tomb? They witnessed in the great city – where Jesus was crucified – for three and a half years then were put to death. After three and a half days they rose from the dead just like Jesus [Rev. 11:11].

The Bible is an awesome book!

nuria garcia arteaga

Netherlands Author to Attend L.A. Times ‘Festival of Books’ April 18

Nuria Garcia Arteaga

Nuria Garcia Arteaga

*(San Diego’s East County) – Nuria Garcia Arteaga, an accomplished author and musician from Lima, Peru, now living in The Netherlands, has written and compiled a work of art that explores romance and intimacy; Love Marathon (“La maraton del amor”).

Love Marathon is a trilogy that follows the lives of three women, Malucha, Maniro and Magnolia. The three women hail from disparate socioeconomic backgrounds and exemplify the novel’s epigraph: “Latin American women are like their nations, some self-destruct, others are destroyed and a few survive.”

This trilogy of stories in Love Marathon; Between Drizzle and Hate, Menkori and Of Sun and Moon captures the essence of human endeavor and frailty. The book is written in English and Spanish. Click to view video.

Arteaga 2

Arteaga sets the tone for this emotional and heartfelt story by utilizing music and the theme of the epigraph throughout. The author borrows from her own early life in Lima, Peru to tell this story. She defines herself as a mix of cultures and races, with her father being African American and her mother Peruvian, and the author having the ability to speak 6 languages.  This book is about women and their emotions. It is interesting to note that when I asked of the author her description and definition of love, personally, she stated: “Love is the emotional bonding with everything around you. Starting with your children, family, friends and nature! It is a force that will make you prevail when other people give up. It is the peace that you find inside, remembering the best moments of your life.” This seems a marked departure from what she has actually written in Love Marathon.

Arteaga is clearly a romantic, as demonstrated in another and similar of her works; Carmen Y Cuba. Carmen lives in Holland and works in Cuba. After two decades she meets again Jean Paul, the love of her life. She shares with him a night of passion. As with Love Marathon and seemingly most of her writings, the story has a bitter-sweet ending.

The author has been writing since ‘she could hold a pencil.’ At ten years old she received the second prize at a national schools competition for short tales based on the Inca culture. The pride in her culture and upbringing comes across clearly in her writings. With her musical background, this story is interspersed with her passion for musical expression, as between 1996 and 2012, Nuria had written six musicals in the framework of preventing inter-ethnic violence amongst youth in The Netherlands and to increase values and counter work corruption in Peru. As a matter of fact, one of her compositions is currently being considered by the Los Angeles Times “Festival of Books” at USC April 18th and 19th. One could easily say that music plays a big part in everything she does, including this book. She states that she listens to music when writing and makes music that could serve as background for the readers. Click here to listen to “Love Bruises.”

Arteaga gives a capsulized approach to Love Marathon by starting from the childhood of these three teenage girls that meet at a former convent in Barrios Altos, colonial Lima. They become like sisters. After 5 years at boarding school, they live a while together in Lima in a house bought by Maniro’s dad.

Malucha is reared by a lady from Iquitos (Amazon region of Peru) that forms her character. Her mother, Gabriela, works at a factory; she has a depressive character caused by a violent father and the loss of her mom when she was young. She never recovers from the abuse suffered from her husband.

Maniro’s mother, Iraida, died at birth. Her father, Don Augusto, is from Curazao and works at passengers’ ships. Being African-Indian she is rejected by her grandma who is a racist ‘creole’. She is raised by a neighbor who is half Ashaninca (ethnic group from the amazon region).

Magnolia is a love child, her mother Flora, was an orphan that married the heir of a wealthy mining family from Trujillo, north coast of Peru. Her father died in a bus accident.

Untold misery and tragedy would follow these women, told in a manner by Arteaga that tugs at the heartstrings of the reader. Coming from the background that these young women came from, one would hope for a better life for them, but that was not to be the case. Perhaps this fictional story says more about the author, than that of the actual characters in the story, in that she would choose to portray them as she did. There is definitely an abundance of joy and pain in this trilogy of stories; Between Drizzle and Hate, Menkori and Of Sun and Moon.

The author alludes to the violence in the lives of the central characters in Love Marathon, namely Malucha, Maniro and Magnolia, coupled with the intermittent love and intimacy in their lives.  It is interesting to note that with Arteaga being a prolific writer, having also written a book entitled Intercultural Neurosis, she uses the same character of Magnolia in it, as she states: “The story presents domestic violence while living in a foreign country and being married to a Dutch executive. Magnolia has only one chance: to escape Ecuador with her two sons. Fragments of the story are presented by the author with Andes music depicts Magnolia’s grief and her determination to protect her two sons.”  This is eerily similar to the plot and theme of Love Marathon.

There are many plot twists in Love Marathon, (3 Shades of Love) including Malucha being murdered in a sexual encounter in Europe, Maniro committing suicide in Oslo, and Magnolia going back to Trujillo, Peru to be with her mother, after being subjected to psychological and financial deprivation by her husband after their divorce. There are many intricacies in this story, which perhaps gives a whole new meaning to Love Marathon, which certainly makes for intriguing reading that this author seems to pour her soul into.

Although fictional, and through my numerous email communications and phone conversations with the author, I get the distinct impression that what she has written in Love Marathon is somehow an extension of her own life. A case in point is the parallel of her once being married and because of the work of her husband living in Equador and Chile. This is eerily similar to the situation and circumstances of the fictional character Magnolia also being married to a businessman and living in Equador. Perhaps one day the author will tell me.

Dennis Moore is the Associate Editor for the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He has also been a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles and the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Mr. Moore can be contacted at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

Dennis Moore

Dennis Moore

Film Projector

Summer Arts Filmmaker: The Baron Jay Foundation High School Internship Program

Film Projector

Los Angeles CA – The Baron Jay Foundation (BJF) presents Summer Arts Filmmaker Internship Program (SAFIP).  BJF has designed an innovative, groundbreaking 21stst Century educational job training program. The goal: To train Los Angeles area high school students from low to moderate income families about film production.

Actor Baron Jay Littleton Jr. is out to show how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) relates to filmmaking. A list of job functions to be experienced are Production, Camera, Sound, Grip, Set Lighting, Art, Set Dressing, Property, Make-up/Hair, Costume, Mobile APP, Website technology and much more.

Working side by side with an A-List variety of professional entertainment industry teachers and administrators, students will develop, write, produce and submit a sitcom to be aired on a national cable network.

Job training will be held at Harvest Studios, an independent Hollywood production studio. Classes and Workshops will be off site. Entertainment industry professionals will provide expert job training. This program is designed for students who may otherwise have no exposure to the entertainment industry. SAFIP will offer a route of self-expression to urban students who may have been stifled by the lack of opportunity and exposure to an entertainment industry right in their own backyards. Students will learn to think on many different levels: Planning, follow-through, equipment operation, crew support and many other job titles seen when credits roll at the end of a movie or television show.

Baron Jay says, ‘We are taking a holistic approach to workforce development by leveraging our strong network of ties in the entertainment community—to match students’ skills to the needs of one of L.A.’s biggest industries.’

Once students complete the internship program, they will become alumni and can come back and work on future productions. They will also be directed to other industry opportunities.

Students will be paid a stipend for their internship, which will set them on a path towards lifetime income earners. The BJF is partnering with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ‘Hire L.A.’s Youth’ program.  Students will be selected from high schools within Los Angeles City Council’s low and moderate income communities. This program will elevate each community’s quality of life through art and cultural diversity.

Through the support and guidance of teachers and administrators, students will develop confidence in themselves and their skills, and take pride in their accomplishments.

SAFIP INTERN PROGRAM OFFERS STUDENTS:

– A forum to air ideas

– A chance to perfect and expand talents

– Opportunity to learn new skills

– Hands-on learning, Classroom instruction

– Behind-the scenes experience

– Tips and workshops from professional insiders

– A final product they can call their own

-Demonstrate how STEM Science, Technology, Engineering, Math relates to film production

– A chance to meet new people with diverse strengths in a stimulating environment

BJF is looking for long term relationships and has many creative ideas and venues that will help make a partnership with the company a success.

About Baron Jay actor Lou Gossett Jr. says, ‘Baron Jay’s charm and grace make difficult things look easy and uneasy situations a distant memory.’

Says Baron Jay, ‘Come out and join us for a summer you will never forget!’

For further details please contact [email protected] or call (818) 568-3330.

Baron Jay Littleton Jr.

Baron Jay Littleton Jr.

avalon project apartments - artist rendering

Home for Heads of Household with Mental Illnesses: Avalon Apartments Has Grand Opening in LA

Mark Ridley-Thomas presents proclamation to ACOF's Dora Leong Gallo

LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presents proclamation to ACOF CEO Dora Leong Gallo

*Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, April 2nd Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and a host of other luminaries hosted the grand opening of the Avalon Project located in the Willowbrook/Rosewood district on the eastside of Los Angeles just north of Carson and west of Gardena. It was well attended by guests and residents alike who shared thoughts of pride in what has been accomplished.

What a difference a few years can make! Those of you following this story (https://www.eurweb.com/2013/05/anatomy-of-the-willowbrookavalon-community-project/AVALON PROJECT) may recall that many community residents (including yours truly) signed a petition in opposition to the Avalon Project by developer A Community of Friends (ACOF). At the time our community was in staunch opposition to anything that would add more weight to an already weak infra-structure. The way it was initially presented left us with more questions than answers. As one L.A. County representative expressed it: “ACOF thought it would be a slam dunk which is usually the case; but the concern here was very strong. It’s evolved into a partnership.”

While personally walking the streets with neighborhood watch group Friends and Neighbors Community Club, I was made aware of the concerns of many residents who have been stakeholders in the community for years. The underlying theme was that in this unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, no one gives a damn. Case in point: The Robertson Concrete facility on Broadway where airborne dust settles on homes, cars – the very air people have to breathe. There was much apathy.

I am pleased to say now that after much discussion and head-butting through the course of it all, a lot of the attention that nearby cities like Carson, and Gardena enjoy, is – slowly but surely – being extended to our community. And why not; there’s a 20.6 million dollar investment at stake here. The project took some 75 thousand labor hours, and 50 percent of the workers lived within a 10 mile radius of the site which boosted the local economy.

The Avalon Project is a three-story 55-unit complex where 70 percent of the heads of household have some mental illness challenges. During his speech Ridley-Thomas said “This is a time to celebrate…this is an important step in which we need to go in order to end homelessness in this county…we’re on a mission.” He aroused the spirit of the audience in chanting “Permanent supportive housing works!”