Serena Wins Her 499th, 500th and 501st Matches at the 2012 Australian Open

Not really breaking stuff, but they’re saying there are only 4 players actively playing who have reached that point. So it’s something.

She beat Arn in 59 minutes just now at 3AM Saturday morning. Nothing too exciting in the game, but I’m glad she’s moving on. Like to see her play Cljisters for the title. I saw those 2 play live some years ago at the Staples Center in LA. Anyway, in this tournament the first game for Serena was against Tamira Pasze. I don’t know much about her but they were saying all kinds of stuff about this brown woman; she either had a father from Kenya and a mother from India or vice-versa, but she was playing for Austria, so go figure.

But in general day 6 at the Australian open has been pretty weird. I just watched Arn make a weird play against Serena and they keep cutting back to the Gael Monfils game against Kukushkin. They repeatedly use the word “circus” about Monfils, and I’ll admit he DOES have a weird clown like vibe about him. Oh God, he JUST did a weird trick move between the legs to confirm the monkier. But the key issue about this match is that Monfils looked like he was going to call a medial pull out, but then he came back from the dead and dragged the match out. [oh, come ON! Somebody just threw a tennis ball onto the court, and they’re saying somebody threw a beach ball down earlier] And Kuk just won the match, the end.

 

Watched Hewitt against Andy Roddick the other day, and it’s been a while since I saw them play, But I think it was Wimbledon that Hewitt first reached my radar; the British press was saying it looked like he was about to storm Poland-a pretty solid Nazi reference for a guy who had a very stern Aryan look. But that wasn’t cool. But that might have been where I saw him play Roddick. Anyway this time Andy had injuries so had to quite the game.

Speaking of Roddick though, he and Serena are supposed to play mixed doubles at this Grand Slam, so everybody’s waiting to see how that’s gonna go. Everybody acknowledges they’re both great players and Serena with Venus has done wonders in doubles. But can you just jam two top players together and they’ll beat practiced, well-oiled pairs?

A few days back I also got to see the best I’ve ever seen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga play. It’s always some issue with him winning, but he FINALLY pulled through clean.

I think it was later in that day that this dude Marcos Baghdatis did this strange racket braking thing. Here’s a scream shot from the video. He just broke racket after racket. Maybe one of the oddest displays I’ve seen since I stated watching the game.

 

So Serena hurt her ankle area a few weeks back (also in Australia, but in Brisbane). So the thing she’s wearing on her leg is I guess this tournaments fashion statement. She’s always got something.

Man! That Maria  Sharapova is a good looking woman. It took her a couple of years for her to grow on me and I usually don’t really like blond women. At all. But I can’t figure out if it’s her height I look, or the look of determination she always wears. I really feel like a cape and sword and some fur boots this woman would have been like an ideal Viking worker-woman wife.  It’s not just about being good looking you know? I mean Ivanovic is pretty but it’s not the same kind of deal. Here just like at this picture from the AO a few days ago.

She acutally played Serena last year at the US Open, so for me it was great to see  my 2 favorites play.

So let’s cross our fingers and see how she does…

Garratt’s Popcorn Opens Store On Chicago’s South Side in the Shadow of Popcorn From Mars Closing.

Are you ready to hear about popcorn in a big way? Ok I’m gonna tell you way too much about popcorn in Chicago. See I love flavored popcorn. And I’m not fancy, I really only like 3 flavors; butter, cheese and caramel. And lucky for me here in the city they’re all pretty easy to come by. Ok let’s go back to January 2011, almost exactly a year ago. I go down to my clinic on 35th and Michigan Ave. and yeah it’s kind of the ghetto, but waddya gonna do? But I got kind of a surprise on that cold January day, I discovered a popcorn place.

 

It was pretty dark and pretty empty and only one guy working there; the proprietor. And man, did we have some kind of talk. His contention was that the main Chicago popcorn place, Garratt’s, had lost it’s taste quality and as a consequence the bulk of their customers. He felt they only catered to city tourist. And I had to agree that they did have a lot of tourist but they also still did pretty well with their biggest fan base; the black people of Chicago. Don’t get me wrong a lot of people like Garratt’s flavored popcorn, but South Side black people, like myself, are particular fond of a mix of the cheddar cheese and caramel. It’s Goddamn great!

 

So this guy had this popcorn shop on 35th and was very proud that people from the suburbs were willing to venture to his shop in the hood. He also felt his quality was pretty good and he had s special recipe that not only tasted better, but kept his popcorn fresh for FORTY FIVE DAYS! Well that was a hell of a boast. So I told him to give me about 30 dollars worth and I would judge for myself. However, the guy DID have some amazing bags. And when I got home I had a really good look at them, and I realized. THIS was the guy’s real business. If he marketed the bags to other food business he could have a great business. First of all he could go online and not have to pay for the storefront, the gas, the light, the insurance, the employees and on and on and on. Plus he could market worldwide and not be locked into JUST the neighborhood around 35th and Michigan. So I decided I would really push him when I went to visit him in 45 days.

 

vs old school Garratt’s bag

Privately, I had a few thoughts. First, Garratt’s was not about to loose any business to a guy with one shop. The shop was in a terrible location in my opinion. That close to the projects and a street that was only just starting to look busy and safe just wasn’t realistic. The neighborhood couldn’t support gourmet popcorn. I mean let’s say you’re living at the poverty level and you decide you’re gonna splurge and buy some junk food. For 5 dollars you can either get a pretty complete dinner at KFC or 6 of 7 ounces of Goddamned popcorn! I mean it’s crazy. Too many residents were not going to use their disposable income on gourmet popcorn.

 But guess what? I got there in March and the guy was GONE. “Closed For Business” sign in the window. Haahahahah. Now I’m not taking delight in his sad news, but he was so certain. And I even asked him if it wasn’t his first try at a business, and sure enough had tried before. I could tell he had done popcorn business research, but I also felt he hadn’t done his demographic research. And I was right. Brick and mortar is a tough, tough, tough way to go without being a franchise. Shit, even franchises don’t always make it.

 

Cut to November of 2011, about a 11 months after the initial visit to Popcorn From Mars (that’s what it was called by the way, he REALLY hadn’t done his demographic work. Now to be fair, I myself am releasing a product this week online and I did zero research to determine if there was a marketplace big and hungry enough and I’m using a product name and logo that is delightful to ME and not what’s customary for the industry. So I understand having faith in yourself and hoping it’ll do well just “because it’s good”). Anyway, around November I’m on a bus on Cottage Grove and 87th and low and behold I see construction for a Garratt’s. And I know, INSTANTLY, it’s going to be a hit.

In fact I can predict and project the next 12 months. They’re going to open JUST in time for Christmas  (they did), they’re going to get slammed with customers (they did), its going to go that way until it gets too cold (that’s what happening as we kick into the 3rd week of January). They’re going to do profitable business through Feb. Then it’ll really pick up around March with foot traffic an kids getting out of school. For the summer they’ll coast pretty well and become a “regular” place to go and people around the South Side will find out they don’t have to go downtown. They’ll peak around holidays and they’ll head right back into Nov/Dec making 2012 one of the most profitable for Garratt’s in years. Then they’ll make  a few more South Side openings and probably 1 on the North Side, now that the resistance to leaving downtown had been broken.

Until I edit and upload some pictures from the 87th street location, here’s photos of the outside and inside of a downtown Garratt’s.

Go See Red Tails This Opening Weekend. January 20th 21st or 22nd

Please go see Red Tails this weekend. It’s opening January 20th. So either the 20th, 21st or 22nd is fine. Any time after that and it really won’t matter.

But what is this exactly? A “film recommendation” would be me saying “hey, here’s a cool movie, go check it out.” But that’s not what’s going on here? Well I’m asking you to go see a movie, good or bad, to help with the box office performance. So why is this important exactly? Well, African Americans-black people-do NOT have a great deal of power in the Hollywood film and tv community. And projects that feature black people don’t have an easy time getting made. ESPECIALLY if there isn’t a white person who’s the “real” star of the movie.

Well, George Lucas went on the Daily Show recently and said some stuff that shocked the audience about this situation. The Daily Show audience went deadly silent as he laid all this out. Not only couldn’t HE, a super famous power player in Hollywood, not get this movie made for 23 years-and ended up having to pay for himself. But even after all that, NONE of the studios would distribute it. Even in the wake of Tyler Perry; they still told him that his move cost more to MAKE than a Tyler Perry movie MAKES at the box office. You might want to re-read that. But bottom line; no distribution. That’s how we stand in Hollywood. In 2012. Here’s the clip from the show.

 

 

(I’m just sticking all this space in here so the widget over there —> wont block the video)

I myself was a struggling actor from about 1988 to 2003 when I finally had to take a “break” and joined the Navy Reserves for the war. The economics of black people in film and TV is much nastier than you think. Like, you PROBABLY think you see a lot of people on TV and the moves-but in reality, you don’t. What you do mostly see is people from other industries like music, sports and comedy who have been ALLOWED to be in the movies. And that give you the ILLUSION that there are a lot of black people making it. It’s not a lot. Trust me. I was there for 25 years. Those people were already famous. And that is why they’re invited into the film and TV.

 And we’re not even talking about “working actors,” the people playing small roles or supporting cast. If you think about it the number of famous actors (people actually trained to act and who didn’t come from another entertainment field) working today is really only about 25 people; and I’m being generous. Try it yourself-count who you know and see how many you can think of that didn’t come from music like will smith, comedy like Eddie Murphy or sports, like The Rock.

 

And even stars STILL have to get paired up with a white person. Check out this new Queen Latifa movie. What the hell is she doing with Dolly Parton?! That doesn’t even make any sense. And I love Dolly. It’s about Gospel music, so it was originally probably about black people, but to get the movie MADE they had to put in a white star. In fact,  Eddie Murphy was on Jimmy Kimmel a couple of months ago talking about that comedy he made with Ben Stiller. ORIGINALLY it was gonna be Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Eddie, etc. But with all black stars it couldn’t get made. But put in Stiller and Matthew Broderick and you have a completely forgettable but MADE movie.

So I’m not here telling you to make up some giant signs and go picketing outside some place. All I’m asking is that if you can-go see the movie between Jan 20-22. Opening box weekend is the ONLY language they speak. And Hollywood makes is decisions about FUTURE projects based on BOW (box office weekend). So speak to them. No fire hoses, no arrest, no German Sheppards biting you in the ass-just go see a movie. That’s civil rights activism in 2012. Pretty civil right?

And speaking of pretty…get down George!