View the gallery on my Facebook page.
Nothing deeply philosophical to discuss at the moment, so I’ll just give some quick updates.
The current production at the Cloverdale Playhouse is Dead Man’s Cellphone. It started last week and runs tonight through Sunday. Before the show’s opening, I got to team up with C. DeWayne Cunningham of Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions to help shoot a promo for the play. View it here. And go see the play!
Let’s see… what else? Oh, I’ve started working on a new solo album. I began tracking with Aaron Burton recently. No clue as to when I’ll finish, but it is in the works.
I recently got the chance to be part of the film Union, written and directed by Whitney Hamilton.
And a short film I served as 2nd Assistant Director on earlier this year in Atlanta – The Talk, written and directed by Jay Ward – has been accepted into some film festivals: Los Angeles Film Awards, Chandler International Film Festival, and the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival.
Also, the short film Altschmerz, written and directed by Somica Spratley, has made it into another film festival – the Ax Wound Film Festival in Vermont. It’s showing Nov. 5.
The October edition of the Guitar Pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse was last night. Another great night, this time in their new courtyard area. I’ll be posting pics from that soon.
More stuff in the works… Thanks for reading. You can follow this blog via email (see the right side of the page) or hit me up via social media (links also on the right.)
These days, you’re much more likely to hear a horror story about a business than a positive one. Let’s face it – if a person goes to a place nine times with no issues, but the tenth visit is bad, that’s probably the one you’re going to hear about on social media.
So when a place goes above and beyond in a positive way, I think it’s good to give credit where credit is due.
Today, my mother wanted to go out and buy something, so I told her I would drive her. We were on the way when the road seemed to get really rough. Not the road, though… Yep, flat tire. So I pull over to the far left of a dual turn lane, put on the hazard lights, and get ready to put on the spare.
This is the first time I’ve had a flat since getting this particular vehicle, so I locate everything I need. Lug wrench, check. Jack, check. Spare tire, check. The wheel cover had already rolled off somewhere so that was out of the way, making it easy to get to everything.
I go to loosen the first lug nut, and I realize there’s a problem. Of the four lug nuts, the wrench only fits two of them. Well, time to call roadside assistance. And tweet, of course.
Roadside assistance will take about a half hour, they say, so we wait. The weather was nice today, so mom rolled her window down as we sat in the far left turn lane of a busy highway. I decided to take a pic of her since we were just sitting there anyway.
While waiting on roadside assistance to show up, two police officers stopped to check on us. Both were very nice, so that was appreciated. And prompted another tweet.
A coworker saw us, recognized me, and stopped to check on us as well. And then a couple of ladies who had been behind us when the tire went out had seen where the wheel cover went and brought that to me.
Seemed like a lot of nice people were out today. A lawn care business was in the other turn lane and asked if someone was on the way. I said yes, and thanked them for asking.
A car pulls up in front of us and stops. A man gets out. It’s been about a half hour, so I’m thinking it’s roadside assistance. He asks if we need help, and I quickly found out he was not roadside assistance. I told him they should be here any minute. He says that he works at a tire place that’s literally just up the street (walking distance, in fact, as we can see the building from where we are on the highway.)
While he’s saying that, roadside assistance calls. There’s a wreck, and they are stuck in traffic. Going to take longer than expected.
So the guy who stopped, David, says he’ll be back in five minutes. He gets a jack and some tools, comes back, gets the spare tire on, and we follow him to the shop.
The assistant manager, Caleb, works up a price for me, and they get started.
Their company – Auto Save Tire & Automotive – went above and beyond on customer service today. One employee stopped to help a stranger in need, and they made a new customer out of it. And the thing is, I was within probably a quarter of a mile of three or four tire/automotive places to choose from, some with much more name recognition.
And it made me think of how far kindness and good customer service can go these days. Among all the competition, sometimes it’s that personal touch that really makes a difference.
So to David, Caleb and the staff at Auto Save Tire & Automotive, thank you for helping me and my mother out today. It was much appreciated.
Photo’s from this month’s Guitar Pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse are up on my Facebook page. Be sure to give the page a ‘like’ while you’re there. Thanks!
“I’m sorry that I’m such a mess.
I drank all my money could get.”
Those lyrics kept popping into my head. It took me a minute to figure it out at first. I kept thinking, “I know this song.” And then I realized it was “If You Don’t, Don’t” by Jimmy Eat World.
It’s interesting how a song or a lyric – or just a line or phrase – can grab you. As a musician myself, I always have that hope that maybe something I’ve written will resonate with someone.
Generally this blog is reserved for projects I’m working on, but every once in a while, I go personal.
Last year was the year I actually went public about depression.
There are lots of sites and blogs that post about that and other related issues, and it’s almost a recurring theme in some of those, that the writer would discuss writing about it, but be hesitant to actually post it publicly, thinking it was too personal or that others wouldn’t get it. It’s a scary and vulnerable feeling to actually go through and hit that “publish” button. But then they share it with a friend or two and get a reaction like, “me too!” or “I thought I was the only one!”
In the depths of it, it can feel lonely and hopeless. I think that’s because it’s such an internal struggle. It’s brain chemicals and thought processes and coping habits. It’s not visual or tangible like a broken arm or even a cold.
And you feel like “such a mess,” as the song states, and you feel apologetic for being that way. (I don’t think the entirety of that song really has anything to do with what I’m writing about necessarily; it’s just that one part that resonated with me.)
Maybe being more open can help end the stigma around issues like depression or anxiety or a host of other things that can be uncomfortable to talk openly about. Maybe it can create more understanding. Maybe it can make people feel less alone when they read something and have that “me too!” reaction. I don’t know. But I hope so.
Much love to you. Thanks for reading.
My mother recorded a recent newscast on her DVR and made sure to save it until I could see it. Not giving anything away, she told me she had something she wanted me to see and asked, “Do you have time now?”
“Sure,” I said, as she loaded the program and hit the play button.
On the local news, they were talking about a Black Film Festival being held at Alabama State University, and there in the background was a scene from Best Friends Forever (The Love and Crimes of Tiye Ra and Corey) by my friend, writer/director C. DeWayne Cunningham of Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions. Specifically, it was the scene of me in the role of “Daniel Andre Wilson” standing over a handrail talking to the main two characters.
I said, “Woah… hey… I’m on TV.” It was quite surprising. And then the next part showed a portion of the scene of Ebony Jones as “Tiye Ra” dragging a body on the ground.
Nice surprise. Thanks to my mom for catching that for us.
Oh, and speaking of Ebony, she made the news again. There is a scene in the film with her boxing in a ring, but what you may not know is that she’s really a boxer. Another news agency ran a story about her. See it here.
On Saturday, my friend and fellow filmmaker C. DeWayne Cunningham and I got to screen three short films at the Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery. (Many thanks to them for allowing us to hold this event!)
First up was Animus by Ce Anderson, followed by my short Four Thousand Wings and then DeWayne’s Best Friends Forever (The Love and Crimes of Tiye Ra and Corey.)
We did Q&A sessions after each film to answer any questions about the story, filmmaking process, or anything else one wanted to ask.
I’ve described my film as a “surreal drama” and there are some things left ambiguous in it, so I was not sure how people might react to it. Love it? Hate it? Meh? So I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised during the Q&A that people seemed to really like it. The feedback was very positive, and as an artist – whether the medium is film, music, painting, theater, etc. – having others connect and appreciate your art is a great feeling.
Normally, I’m the photographer at the monthly Guitar Pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse. But this Tuesday, I’ll be one of the three artists on stage.
This will be my third time performing at this event, which, if you still haven’t been to one of these, I’ll say it again: you’re really missing out.
I’m joining my friend Bobby Lee from Dothan and a duo consisting of Will O’Rear and Al Alysworth.
This coming Tuesday, starting at 7, come out and enjoy some music.
And for some history, read Bubba Hall’s take on the Pull and its founder, Joe Thomas, Jr.
I’ve got to give a big ‘Congrats!’ to my friend and fellow filmmaker Sylvester Folks, who has two projects in another film festival.
After screening his web series The Ghost and the Negro at the LA Film Festival a couple of months ago, he’s now taking that one, along with his series pilot Mercy and Plea, to the state of New York for the Hudson Valley International Film Festival.
Both of those projects will screen on Saturday, August 27.
Photos from this month’s Guitar Pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse are up on my Facebook page. Click here to view the entire gallery.