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.) 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.
motown the musical

‘Motown’ Comes to See About Detroit!

The Supremes: Krisha Marcano as Florence Ballard, Allison Semmes as Diana Ross and Trisha Jeffrey as Mary Wilson in “Motown: The Musical.” (Photo: ‘Motown: The Musical’)

The Supremes: Krisha Marcano as Florence Ballard, Allison Semmes as Diana Ross and Trisha Jeffrey as Mary Wilson in “Motown: The Musical.” (Photo: ‘Motown: The Musical’)

*The song “Come See About Me” by The Supremes was released 50 years ago almost to the day in October 1964. Ever since Motown made its exodus from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1972, Detroiters have been wondering ‘Where is Motown…will it ever come back?’

Well Detroit is getting its wish. With all its glitz, glamour and pizazz, Berry Gordy’s ‘Motown: The Musical’ will be playing at the fabulous Fisher Theatre in the heart of Detroit beginning October 21 through November 16.

Quoted in the Detroit Free Press, Motown founder Gordy says of opening week, ‘It’s going to be really exciting, dramatic and full of love. Being home is always great, but this is even greater because I’m bringing back something that I know they’re going to love and enjoy.’

Like a ‘Long Gone Lover’ (the B-side of ‘Come See About Me’), remaining Motown veterans are expected to come out in full force similar to the reunion that took place at the premier in New York two years ago. Only this reunion will bring it all back to where it all began. Diana Ross who first performed at the prestigious Fisher in 1968 as lead singer of The Supremes; Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder and many other Motowners will be in the audience reliving those magic moments that defined a generation during that critical time in American history – the civil rights movement.

Yes Detroit may have its problems, but now for one shining moment Detroiters, old and young, will get a glimpse of the splendor that was created in that little place called Hitsville USA – which is now the Motown Museum – on West Grand Boulevard.

As a tribute – for this may very well be the occasion for which it was created – there’s a song I wrote called ‘(Going) Back To Motown’ recorded by another former lead singer of The Supremes, Scherrie Payne which is on YouTube at:

Have a ball Detroit!!

david mitchell1

David Mitchell: What Constitutes a Musical Genius?

David Michell, Publisher Amalgamation Mag

David Michell, Publisher Amalgamation Mag

*Of late, I’ve been getting into these passionate debates with many of my fellow music industry peers – some much younger than me, others 40 and up – about who or what is a musical genius.

I’ve said for some time that I wanted to draft an essay from what I’d like to think is a worldly perspective. But in truth I have a very limited or narrow stance on who or what is genius.

By definition, at least per Wikipedia, “a genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of an unprecedented leap of insight.”

Genius comes from the Latin word of the same name, meaning “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth” or “innate ability.” Those are pretty tall orders and heavyweight definitions to apply to individuals simply because they churned out a string of Pop hits. Typically we see glimmers of genius at childhood. And, I’m not referring to Little Magic who always got a rise from grandma and his cousins while he performed at the annual family picnic.

I’ll give you that some people experience flashes of genius, but music has been so watered down over the years, I even question those flashes. Most of the artists on the radio today couldn’t even tell you what key they’re singing in, or how their tracks were produced. Music standards have plummeted. People don’t comprehend or even learn the fundamentals of music, and even those who do aren’t geniuses. They are students of their field. Some are highly accomplished; others are great and learned artists.

In modern times, I believe Stevie Wonder is a musical genius. I don’t think I’m alone in that assessment. He’s a rarity. Blind since birth, he mastered several instruments, mainly the piano, drums and harmonica. He was at the forefront of embracing technology early on, composed and produced hundreds of remarkable songs (many considered a part of the American Songbook) that contained some of the most melodic, complex chord structures, and yet it’s some of the most commercially viable music of the last 40 plus years.

Genius can be almost supernatural; perhaps unworldly. Now people have asked me is Michael Jackson or Prince a genius. I can’t say yes. I love both of them immensely. Is Pharrell Williams or Kanye West a genius? I decline to apply that term to them either.

You see, we have watered down the English language to a fault, especially when there are words that aptly apply to great artistry like Michael Jackson who I would say is a creative visionary of the highest order. Prince is one of the most gifted, prolific and versatile musicians of our time. Both transcended their peers. I’ve LOVED the music and production of Pharrell Williams for nearly two decades. His wizardry as one of today’s top producers is second to none. “Happy” is an amazingly feel-good song but the production of Pharrell is pastiche and harkens back to the best of the `70s and `80s. In the rap game, Kanye and Jay-Z may be unmatched in their lyrical skills, their insightful poetry and penchant for giving audiences what they want. But is that genius? I was in a discussion where a colleague pointed out that DeVanté Swing (of Jodeci) and Missy Elliott were geniuses. Come on now! Again, not to take anything away from the good music they produced, and the talent they helped to bring to the forefront; some people are very adept at tapping into the hearts and minds of its audience at large, or they’re able to spearhead a cultural movement and speak for their respective generation. I’m not sure that’s necessarily genius, and a great part of what these artists do is via collaboration: with a collective of producers, musicians, videographers, and a large budget at their disposal.

I guess what I’m saying is [that] we need to expand our vocabulary and stop grasping for the easy terms. A BFF of mine recently stated that there are two words that he believed were overused into today’s Pop culture: one is epic, and the other is phenomenal. Hell, I’ll use epic and phenomenal over the label genius any day.


David Mitchell is Publisher, Amalgamation Mag
[email protected]
Re-printed by permission

lgbt (hands)

LGBT’s Urge to Merge [Marry]: A Church Challenge

lgbt (hands)

*The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases cleared the way for same-sex couples to wed in more added states across the country. Hooray for them (law is law), but as I stated before, why call it ‘marriage’? Why change God’s definition of marriage?

In a previous article I wrote titled ‘Marriage: Sorry that User Name is Taken,’ I proposed that the LGBT community come up with their own unique title for their civil unions. This is where separation of church and state should really come into play.

Just as a church could lose its tax-exempt status for endorsing a particular political party or candidate, it could also lose its effectual consecration in spiritual matters as standards become increasingly relaxed. The term ‘marriage’ is a Biblical standard that defines it as the union between a man and a woman. If we allow marriage to be redefined, what’s next? Will we then begin to erode the definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’? Aren’t our children going to be challenged enough that we have to leave them this legacy? I think it’s applicable what President Obama said when addressing global warming: ‘We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair.’

Wake up church – you have a responsibility in this! If the state will not allow you to impose your influence on the political scene, why let it impose something against God’s word upon you? What belongs to the state is the state’s, and what belongs to God is God’s. Jesus said in Matthew 22:21 ‘Therefore render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.’

Let’s keep marriage intact. When same-sex couples have the urge to merge, let them call it just that – a merge, not a marriage.

Larry (no tie 2)

Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub)  E-mail: [email protected]    Visit the author at (213) 220-8101

Chester Whitmore and Ron Brewington

Choreographer Chester Whitmore on ActorsE Chat (Watch)

Chester Whitmore and Ron Brewington

Chester Whitmore (left) with host Ron Brewington

*(Hollywood) – Veteran dancer/choreographer Chester Whitmore appeared Monday September 29, on ActorsE Chat with host Ron Brewington.

Whitmore, who started dancing in 1974, talked about having a chance meeting with famed hoofer Fayard Nicholas, eldest member of the Nicholas Brothers, which led to Whitmore becoming Nicholas’ protégé.

He also discussed the evolution of dancing on television, stage and film and the great dancers of our time whose footsteps he followed in.

Chester Whitmore Dancing

Other discussions included: Working with Michael Jackson in 1988 as an assistant choreographer in “Moonwalker;” the effect that the television program “Dancing With The Stars” has on public dancing; social value of knowing how to dance; his recent trip to Russia as an “American dancing ambassador” and other related subjects.

Please click the player below to watch the program:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
ActorsE Chat is a live chat show on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Productions LLC, with PR-Marketing-Sales by Live Video Inc.

The program is rated “PG” and is an informational program about the guest. It is not a gossip show – no dishing.

ActorsE Chat (Actors Entertainment on IMDb) is now in its 6th season, and has had over 1,200 guests and almost 6 million viewers. The one-hour program is seen live Monday through Friday worldwide on the internet.

Contact: Pepper Jay@ 310-345-9366 or [email protected]

Congresswoman Janice Hahn

Rep Janice Hahn On Compton Officers Carrying Assault Weapons on School Campus

Congresswoman Janice Hahn

Congresswoman Janice Hahn

*COMPTON, CA – Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44) issued the following statement regarding a policy recently passed by the Compton Unified School Board that permits school police officers to carry assault weapons on school campus:

“I am concerned with the unintended consequences of a Compton Unified School Board policy that will permit school police officers to carry assault weapons such as AR-15 and AK style rifles on our school campus. Our schools’ police officers are there to ensure our children feel secure and ensure students have a safe place to learn. Sadly, school shootings across the nation have become all too familiar and I know that a similar tragedy in Compton is many parents’ worst fear. However, while we must take extra precautions to protect our children, our schools are not war zones and I understand the concern and alarm expressed by many in our community. Before the school board takes any further steps toward implementation of this policy, it is important that the voices of parents, teachers, students and residents are heard. I look forward to joining board member Emma Sharif in hosting a community forum to hear from both the school board and Compton residents.”

Larry Buford

Larry Buford: When You Hear Your Tune, Dance!

Larry Buford

Larry Buford

When you hear your tune, dance! Everybody has a tune; a purpose in life. How unfortunate it is for someone to waste the music – for someone to wait until the song is almost over before they venture out onto the dance floor, or even worse to never venture at all.

I find that one of the biggest concerns people have about pursuing dreams and goals is what others will think – what will other people say? It’s a valid concern, but no excuse for holding back. Someone out of town on vacation once said, “I can do and act as I want – I won’t have to see these people again.” That may have been spoken in a frivolous, fleeting context, but it’s a concept that can and should be adopted on a higher more meaningful level.

Did you know Christians are out-of-towners? Think about it – if we are indeed born again in Christ, and Christ is now seated at the right hand of our Heavenly Father, then doesn’t that make us citizens of Heaven? So what does it matter if we act a little strange or peculiar among strangers on earth? If they’re not part of the family of God, you may never see them again. In the song “They Won’t Go When I Go” Stevie Wonder sang “…they won’t go…where I go…no one can keep me from my destiny.”

Is there something you’ve been hesitant about doing, but too concerned about what people will think? Let people think and say what they like – we have a higher authority to answer to. In 2 Samuel 6:14 – 23 there’s the story of King David who was despised for dancing before the Lord with all his might. He didn’t care what others thought.

Author William W. Purkey wrote: “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Have you heard your tune yet? If not, ask God to play it for you, and when you hear it, dance like nobody’s business!!