Monday, October 27, 2008

Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones PSA

Because Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones are two of my favorite actresses I had to post this...

See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die

Hopefully they star in movie together. Something artsy.


Friday, October 24, 2008

High School Musical 3

I'm one of those people who eagerly awaited to see HSM 3 in theaters.

I like everything about these movies, from the dance numbers to the cutesy storylines and right down to Sharpay's over the top mean girl. The High School Musical gang left us with some fun movie moments and HSM 3 wraps up the trilogy quite nicely.

And to think it all started with this...

"We're soaring / flying / there's not a star in Heaven that we can't reach / if we're trying / so we're breaking free"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kids Pick the President: Obama Wins

Every election kids cast their votes on who they want to be president in Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President election. Four out of the last five presidential elections the kids' winner has went on to win the general election. And this year the kids want Barack Obama to be president.

Could this be one more nail in McCain's campaign coffin?


Looking for natural and organic food in your area?

Local Harvest offers a comprehensive map on how to find spots where you can purchase food from local farmers. You get fresh produce, meet new people and stimulate your regional economy all in one short trip. I know I sound like a commercial, but every time I visit my local farmer's market I find some cool stuff and have interesting conversations. It's really fun when you bring a friend along to share the experience.

[Hat tip to]
[photo Acorn Creek Farm]

Friday, October 17, 2008

Actor Spotlight: Anthony Montgomery

Anthony Montgomery has been part of the Star Trek universe, the indie film circuit and now the music scene with his upcoming album. Whether he's soaring space as Ensign Travis Mayweather in Star Trek: Enterprise or running from girls in The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks, Montgomery has all the right ingredients to emerge as one of Hollywood's leading men.

Here's my Q&A with him:

1. Authenticity is an overused word in most art forms. What does it mean to you and how does your definition influence your acting?

I'm a fan of using definitions from the source. Webster defines authenticity as true to one's own personality, spirit, or character. At this point in my life I know who I am. I infuse the essence of who I am into each character, making sure to live in truth, moment to moment, on screen.

2. People get into acting for a lot of different reasons. What drives you?

I'm an entertainer, a performer. I got into acting because performing is in my blood. From the moment I did my first play in college (a children's theater piece) I was hooked. I'm driven to be the best I can be so I continually look for roles that will challenge me as an actor.

3. What's your process for picking projects? What elements have to be in a script to make you say "I have to audition for that role"?

Early in my career, I allowed others to guide my choices and many roles were chosen out of necessity. Now I choose projects that truly move me. I have to see something on the page that makes me want to be a part of telling that particular story to the world. I love character driven scripts. Be it comedy or drama, the characters I'm drawn to need to have depth, exploring a broad array of emotions.

4. What do you do to cheer yourself up when you don't the the part?

When I don't get a part I allow myself to go through the emotion of being disappointed, but being an eternally optimistic person, I don't stay in that space long. I was taught by my mother and grandmother that when one door closes, God opens several more. I believe that when I am meant to have a role it will be mine so I try not to get attached to a part just because I want it. I focus on doing the work. God will handle the rest.

5. Your film The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks might be classified as a black artsy film by some. What kind of films would you like to see developed by minority filmmakers?

I don't know if you know, but the distributer (Image Entertainment) changed the title of the film back to it's original title I'm Through with White Girls. I'm not a fan of that title, especially since that's not what the film is about, but that is their prerogative. As for the film, Jay Brooks was a fun character to play because we don't see characters like that portrayed very much. I would love to see minority filmmakers continue to raise the bar and elevate the images of minorities on screen. As a black man, I want to see more uplifting images of black men depicted in stories.

6. What actors/directors are you most interested in collaborating with?

There are so many amazingly talented actors and directors out there that I just want to continue amassing a solid body of work throughout my career. A partial list of the some of the men I'd love to work are: Sidney Poiter (it would be an honor to work with him in any capacity), Denzel Washington, both as an actor and a director, Don Cheadle, Forrest Wittaker, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke, Will Smith, Francis Ford Coppola (a genius), John Singleton, Spike Lee, Terrance Howard, Peter Jackson, Viggo Mortensen, Matt Damon, Jet Li and John Woo. Some of the women I'd love to work with include: Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, Mary Harron, Sophia Coppola, Charlize Theron, Thandie Newton, Halle Berry, Liv Tyler, Scarlett Johansson, Keira Knightly, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Connelly, Tea Leone, Jada Pinkett Smith, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Natalie Portman, Ziyi Zhang, Maria Bello and Jessie Nelson. Again this is a short list. There are too many list them all.

7. Do you see yourself stepping behind the camera anytime soon?

Directing is an art unto itself. I do plan to get behind the camera at some point but that's going to be a very gradual process for me. I've written a short film that I'll probably direct (at least co-direct) at some point. I figure that'll help me ease my way into the director's chair. Right now I'm going to focus on work in front of the camera.

8. What are some of your upcoming projects?

After Star Trek: Enterprise ended, I took some time away from the entertainment industry and focused on my personal life. When I returned to the industry we were in the middle of a writer's strike so I shifted my energy from being on screen to finishing my debut Hip Hop album, "A.T," which is being released internationally October 17, 2008. The album is being released by an independent record label in Germany (AGR Television Records) and distributed through Universal Music Group. The first single, "Bullskittin'," will be available soon.

While recording the album, I worked as one of the leads in a short film, The Porter (directed by Vincent Singleton) which won the HBO/Chase Legacy Film Challenge. The short will air during HBO's regular programming schedule.

I'm Through with White Girls is currently available nationwide on DVD.

9. Anything else you'd like to add?

Karen, I appreciate you for creating this forum. Thank you for giving your readers the opportunity to get to know me. And thank you to everyone that supports me and my career. I appreciate you all. For future updates please visit: or check me out on Myspace at:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MESTO: Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra

It's amazing how music can bring people together.

A few nights ago I watched a documentary about how the MESTO orchestra united Jews and Muslims. The conductor talked about how he started the group to counteract all the turmoil that happens between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East. He believes that this kind of work, the building of friendships and bonding over commonalities will bring about the right kind of change. And I agree with him.

MESTO is based in Los Angeles and they travel the world (particularly the Middle East) performing their unique blend of traditional Western orchestra pieces as well as Middle Eastern arrangements.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sex Slaves in the Suburbs

Human trafficking is an American problem too.

Last night I watched one of the most riveting documentaries about teenagers being kidnapped and sold into prostitution. MSNBC's Sex Slaves in the Suburbs centered around the horrific story of Shauna Newell, a then 16-year-old who was tricked into a Florida sex trafficking ring. She was repeatedly drugged, raped and beaten and nearly sold off and lost forever to someone in Texas.

When teens go missing the police often chalk it up to them being runaways but with human trafficking and the sex industry becoming more lucrative there's a great chance that teens are getting sucked into that realm. And when you examine the Red Light hot spots around the world you realize that it's not only teens and adults who get caught in its snares. I've seen several documentaries that show little girls (and boys) being sold to the highest bidder, with some being as young as 7-years-old. Can you even begin to imagine the horrific lifestyle that awaits such a child? They lose themselves and become indoctrinated by their pimps and captors that sex is all they're good for and that their life could be taken away from them at any moment. It's a sad reality for countless youth.

There aren't many songs that deal with this heavy subject but Aly & AJ's "I Am One of Them" talks about their concern to help missing children:

It's hard to look outside my door / with all the news reports and more / yet I will do my part and stay on alert / for all the kids out there who are getting hurt / it could have happened to me / can you make me believe / this could have a happy end / 'cause I am one of them

Every time I listen that song it tugs on my heart so deeply and I've kind of made it my theme song to inspire me to find ways to be active in the cause against human trafficking.

You can check out these sites for more info on how to join the fight:

Know of any organizations doing work in this area? Share your links in the comment section.

[photo: random suburban house]

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PBS Engage

I wish more people watched PBS.

For all the crappy TV shows that get made every year, PBS is the constant work horse that produces quality programming. Check out their new site

It explores "what role social media can play in public broadcasting."

There are plenty of cool features including links to blogs, documentaries and a section for you to give feedback.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Reel Artsy

A couple of my favorite movies are Garden State and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. They're quirky, offbeat and fun. Plus, they feature two of my favorite actresses Natalie Portman and Kate Winslet who are prime examples of women who've built solid careers on playing a smorgasbord of versatile characters.

Which brings me to my latest blogging venture. I started up a new supplemental blog to Think Virtue! called Reel Artsy where I will spotlight quirky films by minority filmmakers. I'll be posting short summaries/reviews of cool films that I think are noteworthy. It will include trailers and links to film festivals and such. And at some point I'm hoping to do some brief interviews with the indie filmmakers who are producing these kind of movies.

I'll be films, Latino films, Arab films, biracial films, Deaf Culture films, Asian films, Native American films, Christian films, experimental films and pretty much anything that aspires to do something a little "outside of the box."

If this sounds like something you're interested in then head over to and check out the Bollywood film Drona that I saw in theaters this weekend.

By the way, if you look at my sidebar you'll see that I added a widget that updates you with the latest Reel Artsy posts.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Journalists Do Care!

"The media" has become a dirty phrase in our society.

They're often blamed as being part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. Some people call them heartless. Some people call them money-hungry. And some people just call them plain stupid. But contrary to popular belief, some journalists really care. They're not in it for the money, the fame or whatever people want to negatively associate them with. When it comes down to it, they're regular people who dedicate their lives to telling stories that need to be told. And that's courageous.

Ann Curry is one of my favorite journalists. Please take the time to watch her acceptance speech for her work on "Crisis in Darfur" at the 28th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Her words are heartfelt and beautiful.

[photo credit: Ann Curry and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.
Photo by Antoine Sanfuentes, NBC News]