Sunday, December 31, 2006

Review: The Lazarus Child

I was thinking we needed some more reviews up on Angie B News! but until the book comes out, we have nothing to review. So I've revived an old review I did of an AB movie that was never released in the States. The filming of The Lazarus Child (or more recently called 'The Last Door') wrapped in 2003, yet it still hasnt hit theaters in the US, despite the praise from foriegn countries. Italy, Finland, China, and Sweden have all been introduced to this movie. So I did a little searching and found a reliable international website that is selling the DVD and actually ships to the US. Heres my review:

So finally I got The Lazarus Child in the mail. It had Dutch writing all over it, that of course I couldnt read, but I can now say that I've finally seen her movie. Unlike some of her movies in the past few years, she actually is in The Lazarus Child quite often. Though I dont know if that is such a great thing. The film proved to be both touching and moving even if it was often unrealistic.

The Lazarus Child centers around a family who has just suffered a tragedy. Their young daughter gets in a road accident which puts her in a seemingly irreversible coma. Thats where Angie comes in:

Angela's character is Elizabeth "Lizzie" Chase and she is in charge of an innovative clinic for children in a coma. The techniques she uses to heal the children are repeatedly unbelievable, using massages to stimulate the nerves and connection cables to communicate to the unconscious.

There are some scenes that display Angela's powerful talents: in one scene you can see her rolling her eyes and making clever verbal attacks that make any movie worth watching. In this specific scene she is arguing with a police detective about her clinic's well-being and many times I felt the urge to tell the poor officer "Just give up! You're never going to win!" In other instances Angies character was too textbook and cliche, she seemed to be very willing to risk it all for these children (although they do explain this in the film).

There is some over-acting and even some under-acting in the film that adds to its unbelievability. But the best scenes are the flashbacks when she is hypnotized and can communicate with the children in a coma. She shows both strength and vulnerability while trying to bring them out of their own minds.

In general, the film isnt a stretch for Angela who is capable of much more. But it is definitely a good rest stop while waiting in-between Angie's other movies.

More Pictures of Angela in The Lazarus Child:

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Picture Icons

  1. Right click on the picture icon you want
  2. click 'save picture as' and save the icon to your computer
  3. Use it wherever you like to show your BassettHound pride!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Our Christmas Wish

We're anxious and we're sure you are too. This book, Friends: A Love Story, has been on our minds since March. We've been anticipating, speculating, contemplating, and just plain waiting for this book and now it seems we'll have to keep on for another two months. Valentines Day 2007 is the new release date for the romance novel co-written by Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance, but as BassettHounds we're going to ignore this and look at the positive.

We (Tacia, Simonique, and Amanda) have come together to muse on our hopes, interests, and what we're looking forward to the most in the book. We hope our musing serves as a relief from the almost year-long wait for 'Friends' and we hope that you have a wonderful, joyous, and Merry Christmas today. Happy Holidays BassettHounds!

And this begins "Our Christmas Wish":

Tacia's Wish: Growing up Angela

Wow. I have always been one who was really intrigued by a person's past. In fact, when I meet someone or become friends with someone, that is what I look forward to hearing about the most. To me, a person's childhood years are such formative ones that help shape who they are today.

With all of that said, I can't wait to read about Angela's. Here are a few of the questions I have in mind:

1.What was she like as a child? Was she shy? Out-going? Timid? I know as a child, to some people I was probably shy. But it wasn’t that. I just feel that those around me were extremely out-going lol. I was goofy, yet quiet. And in my adult life, I’m pretty much the same- until you really get to know me. Then it’s ON! I will be the goofiest person you’d ever meet.

2. Who were the people in her life? I grew up with my mother, grandmother, and older cousins in the house. So, as you can imagine there was always someone to watch over lil ol’ me. And do you know to this day, I am most comfortable around older people. I can’t describe it, but because of my childhood household, my whole being seems to benefit more around those that may be twice my age.

3. How was school for her? How did she feel when the busing system was put in for desegregating schools? I had a project in high school about this once. I interviewed some family members and let me tell you…interviews can be the best primary sources you ever look for. What better way to learn about historical experiences than from the source itself-the people!

4. How were her neighborhoods? The neighborhood experience is always funny to listen to when told by my parents, aunts, uncles and family friends. It seems like no matter what area you are in, there is always a commonality when stories are shared. “ I got whipped my Ms. Johnson down the street, then when Momma got home...I got it again!” That stuff just cracks me up.

The list would just go on and on. But there are two people whom she rarely speaks in depth about: Her father Daniel, and her sister, D'nette. Anytime she talks about her sister, it's more for reference, rather than in real detail. And, just only a few days ago we found out her father's name. I don’t know, I always like to know about the relationship between a person and their father.

These are just some of the things I hope to read about. It would be like… getting to know a piece of Angela's heart.

Simonique's Wish: The College/Broadway Years

I think the best part of the book for me is going to be...ALL OF IT!! So theres no need to go any further right?? :D Joke, joke, thats a joke.

But seriously: I'm going to like reading about her days at Yale and how she made it into college and through all her 7 years there. My interests probably seem predictable; I'm a freshman in college so of course I'd want to read about Angela's experience at Yale. But its more than that.

Reading about Angela Bassett's College/Broadway years will show how she became her own person. This time in her life comes after her childhood with a tough mom and before her marriage and the twins. This time in Angela's life is about her own personal growth and how she shaped herself into the person she is now. I want to know about the times that she was on her own and was just learning to make decisions for herself. Hopefully this will reveal how she got her strength, her spirit, her determination, and her intense talent.

Angela is a strong-willed woman with morals, nerve, intergrity, and backbone. She moved to Hollywood in 1988 with the sole purpose of pursuing her passion, fulfilling her dream, and doing it all with pride. She came in the movie industry with her mind made up on what she would and would not do onscreen and I'm hoping her book reveals just how her mind was made up. Angela's values are admirable and so I figure her College/Broadway years are the times when she was on her own, experiencing life, and developing her character and those same values.

I want to know how she transitioned from a full-time student to a professional stage actress and if she really needed her two degrees from Yale to do it. Angela says that she was one of the few actors that had no problem living in New York soley from the pay she got from acting on stage; I want to know how thats possible. I want to know how she made it all happen because it'll give me hope that I can make it all happen too. Theres nothing like a personal example of success to motivate you to do the same thing. Angela's story is motivation for me, its helps drive me and encourage me, and reinforce that its all possible. Its possible to get through college, graduate with a Masters, and continue on working in the field you desire. Its possible to succeed.

What might be the most interesting telling from the book (for me) will be how Angela, as a young person, started to go out there and date and be in a relationship. I'm assuming that she must have had some of her first dates and relationships with the opposite sex in college. Angela's said before that the best way to keep a man is to "beg him for something you know he already wants to give you. That way he'll feel hes needed." I want to know how and where she learned that (because I'm definitely using that advice!).

Personally and specifically, I need to know where to start in a relationship. When you find a person you're interested in what do you do? Do you flirt or play hard to get? Do you act shy or make the first move? Where do I start and better yet, where did Angela start?

I'm incredibly excited for Friends: A Love Story because frankly, I think I'll find some answers to lifes most difficult questions inside. I've never been more eager for Valentines Day in my life!

Amanda's Wish: Early Stages of the Relationship

My Christmas wish is to have the book in my hand. I am very impatient when it comes to Angie B and I just can’t take it anymore. LOL! No, I am just kidding. Well not really, but I’ll get on with it anyway.

I am more interested in Angela and Courtney’s relationship. I am looking forward to the early stages and growth of the strong relationship they have now. How they fell in love (especially after all the obstacles that were placed in their path. Personally, I would have given up a long time ago, given the circumstances;-)

Angela was very careful about who she would spend the rest of her life with. Courtney had to be someone special for Angela to choose him as her husband. Angela is no dummy! I mean she is a very intelligent woman, and I always knew that her life partner would be someone wonderful.

There are several male figures in Angela's life that she considers to be great friends. What happened that took this friendship to the level of intimacy? She dated on the regular and I am sure she came across great male ‘friends’ in her lifetime. We know of Mark, the Cardiologist of whom she was dating, (even though there were several interviews where she describes him as just a friend). This friend didn’t turn into her husband. What changes did Courtney go through that made him the perfect guy for her? How did this friendship grow into a love that would last?

Angela once said “You know the song, ‘I fall in love too easily. I fall I love too fast.’ If I fall in love, you should ask me to marry you within the first six weeks.”
We have heard a couple different stories as to the moment they fell in love. Did she treat him as any other friend at first? Or was she attracted to him from the beginning and just wanted to take it slow?

Her journey with Courtney starts off with meeting him in college and thinking he was ‘a nice brother.’ (At the time Courtney had a girlfriend, so he was off limits and I understand that) Then later on they meet up again and deciding to go on a date. Due to the fact they were both extremely shy, it just doesn’t work out. You would think that after these incidents she would just give up on a relationship with the man. But, then something clicks and it‘s “For the first time in my life, a man actually felt safe… I didn’t feel uncertain, it didn’t feel stressful, it didn’t feel rushed. It slowly dawned on me that true love felt calm, peaceful, so certain. I knew it was right. I could tell it would last.”

I married at a young age. My husband and I have known each other all our lives, but it took us awhile to realize we were in love. Knowing that we liked each other while dating other people, only led to this constant recognition that something was missing. Then finally we realized we needed to stop wasting time trying to find something we already had.

So I guess the main thing I want to get out this book is ‘what does Angela have in Courtney?’ And then I think back when Angela was asked what she was looking for in a man and she said, “Someone who’s honest with you, with himself. Someone with integrity. Someone who comes out and tell me what he wants, that he loves me, cares about me, makes me laugh.”

At the moment I realize she has already answered my question. Now all I can do is wait patiently and look forward to my Christmas wish coming true!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ebony Magazine

Ebony Magazine does a small mention in Book Shelf on Friends: A Love Story

In Friends: A Love Story, the celebrity couple Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance, written with Hilary Beard, reveal how they found love after 20 years of traveling in the same circle of friends. They describe it as a dream come true. “ I was feeling very attracted to her though we hadn’t touched or kissed,” writes Vance, a dramatic actor nominated for two Tony Awards and who is a recent co-star on NBC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. “Nothing romantic had been said. But we had been doing so much sharing. Our conversations were so intimate. She had such a kind heart. Suddenly it dawned on me-this is who I want to marry.” For her part, Bassett, the critically acclaimed actress of television, stage and film who won a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination for What’s Love Got to Do With It, writes: “For the first time in my life, a man actually felt safe… I didn’t feel uncertain, it didn’t feel stressful, it didn’t feel rushed. It slowly dawned on me that true love felt calm, peaceful, so certain. I knew it was right. I could tell it would last.”

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Excerpt from Friends: A Love Story

I Ain't Average

It was a hot and sticky August day when I came into the world in 1958--at least, that's how I imagine it. Angela Evelyn Bassett is the name I was given--my middle name in honor of Aunt Evelyn.

But I've gotten ahead of myself. I need to start my story with my parents.

Mama didn't have the best luck when it came to men, but she always protected me from them. After she graduated from high school she migrated from St. Petersburg, Florida, to New York City, where she lived with her father's brother, Uncle Charles and his wife, Aunt Evelyn. That's where she met my daddy, Daniel Benjamin Bassett, who'd moved to New York from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They met, dated, got pregnant with me, married and lived in a small apartment in Harlem. I think it was on Seventh Avenue across from Small's Paradise.

My father was very bright, a self-educated kind of man--he could talk to anyone about anything. Yet I always thought of him as a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. He made his money working in the neighborhood, fixing jukeboxes and other electrical things. My mother, Betty Jane, was a nurse's aide or something like that. I have a really pretty picture of her in her white uniform. With both of them working, they didn't have much--even before I was born. Times were hard for black folks in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Ten months after I was born my mother got pregnant again. Of course, that only made things harder. I don't think my parents had considered how they would handle two babies, living in New York and both of them having to work. My mother never speaks poorly of my father, but sometimes she says he was frugal or stingy. According to her he was the kind of person where if she would say, "The baby needs shoes" and those shoes cost $4.72, he would count out $4.72--not $4.73--not a nickel more. Maybe he was broke, I don't know. I'm certain times were tight.

On top of struggling financially, my parents' relationship was troubled. My mother once told me a story of how she tried, or pretended to try, to leave my father in her trademark melodramatic style.

"We're leaving your daddy. We're leaving that man," she sang as she packed me into the car. His friends apparently reported to him, "They're in the car, and she's telling the baby she's leaving." He rushed home.

"What?" he said. "Get back in the house! You ain't leaving."

I also have a vague childhood memory of playing with a little white windup dog that flipped over and barked. I remember thinking the dog was fun. My mother was cooking greens. There was an argument about money--my daddy didn't want to give her money for food but he was eating the food--then a fight. A window got bumped then somehow my father's head was out the window. That's the only memory I have of being in that apartment. Maybe that was the kind of behavior my mother was trying to get us away from.

After Mom got pregnant with my sister D'nette, my parents shipped me down to Winston-Salem to stay with Daddy's sister Golden. Aunt Golden and her husband, Grover, didn't have any children of their own, but she was someone who loved children, and she was good with them--they were her background, her education, her love. And Uncle Grover didn't mind me coming to live with them. He was a barber and had his own barbershop, Sanitary Barbershop. Cutting heads was his thing.

I stayed with Aunt Golden and Uncle Grover in the little redbrick, two-bedroom house he had built on Graham Avenue near Winston-Salem Teachers' College, now Winston-Salem State University. The house had a porch with an aluminum glider on it and a magnolia tree in the front yard, a weeping willow in the back. I liked to play in the basement and was a good kid, from what they say. Aunt Golden and Uncle Grover had a committed and consistent relationship. They were good, God-fearing people who loved, supported and took care of each other. I never heard a harsh word said in their home.

My aunt Golden was a teacher, so she was gone during the day. While Auntie was at school I would stay with my grandmother, whose name was Brownie. Grandma Brownie lived in a little house across the street from the school. On Sundays I would go with either her or Auntie to Goler Metropolitan AME Zion Church. Auntie always dressed real fine and wore hats to church and all that stuff. She would dress me like a little doll baby in little frocks with gloves and little hats. As a small girl I was always repeating, "Praise the Lord!" and "Hallelujah!" which I heard at that church on Sundays.

Across the street from Aunt Golden and Uncle Grover, I had a girlfriend, Debra. I would play with her and her cousins, and we all went to church together. I probably heard Debra or my other little friends calling their mothers "Mommy"; I remember on several occasions attempting to call my auntie "Mommy" or "Mama." Now, I don't believe I ever tried to call Uncle Grover "Daddy," but I did try to call Aunt Golden "Mommy."

"Angela, I am not your mother," she would tell me in a gentle voice. "You have a mama. I am Auntie." I would get upset and twist up my face. I wanted to have a mama.

One day when I was four I was in the basement playing when Auntie called me upstairs. "Angela, your mama's on the phone."


"Hi, Angela. This is Mama," said the voice on the other end of the line.

"I ain't got no mama," I shouted and threw down the phone. I remember feeling upset that the woman I lived with and loved was not my mother, yet here was this voice on the phone saying that she was my mother. It is the only telephone conversation I remember with my mother while I was living with Golden and Grover. I guess back in those days, people wrote letters, but I was too young to read.

The next thing I knew (I'm sure some days or weeks had passed), there was a knock on the door and a pretty, brown-skinned woman--my mother--was standing in the door frame. My mother looked nice, and I imagine my auntie told me at least a little something to expect--I don't remember it being traumatic. But the next thing you know, I was gone, headed to St. Petersburg, Florida, with her and my little sister, D'nette. To hear my mother tell it, while she was living with my dad she had a couple of nervous breakdowns and ended up in court. The judge told her to take her children and go home or he'd take us or put us in foster care.

"I'm going home," she told him. "I'll go home." That's when she left my father; although they didn't divorce until years later.

In St. Pete's we stayed with my mother's parents, Grandmother Emma and Granddaddy Leroy, whom we called Mama and Daddy. My mother got a job as an aide in a hospital. My grandmother took care of me while Auntie was at work. We'd sit and watch soap operas together. She'd have her coffee and I'd have my mug filled with coffee, which was really milk with a teaspoon of coffee in it. When her stories were over I'd fill up her green-stamp book, putting all the little stamps in their places. That was fun! When I finished that we would walk up to the little store and get my grape snow cone. Then I'd get into her big bed and take my nap. That was my day.

At night my mother went to secretarial school. She hadn't done well in high school--she said she was always slacking off with her girlfriend, skipping class and smoking, and barely graduated with Ds and Fs. Now she was paying for it and having to play catch-up while she had two little girls. We'd sit on the bed together and play a game where D'nette and I would show her flash cards with shorthand characters on them while she learned and figured them out. Eventually she got very good at all those squiggly lines and dots and stuff. Between that and the steno pad, she would do her thing.

D'nette and I got along well. She was fun and cute and happy to have a big sister. Being older I was always one step ahead of her. One time when we were home at Mama Emma's, I remember finding some scissors and playing barbershop just like Uncle Grover.

"Let's play barbershop," I said to D'nette, and cut off all her little plaits. When I finished, she smiled and said, "Now let's do yours." I said, "No, let's do something else." When my mother came home from work that day, she beat the daylights out of me. I was always outsmarting D'nette like that.

"I have five moneys and you have one money," I'd say. "I'll give you my money for your money."

"Okay." And of course my money was a nickel and a couple of pennies and hers was a quarter. Then she'd want to have her turn.

"No," I'd say and change the subject. "Want some cookies?" ** *

So we lived with my grandparents for maybe a year. My mother got along with her dad--she was a daddy's girl--but didn't get along with her mom at the time. There was a lot of "get-down"--arguing--between them. Maybe it was because my grandmother had become a Jehovah's Witness, with all its tightenings and restrictions.

When my mother couldn't stand living with her parents anymore, we moved out of Grandmom and Granddaddy's house and into a little dinky shotgun apartment on the other side of the railroad tracks that ran behind the "beer garden." A beer garden is a saloon, one of those little joints where the barflies hang out. They've got peanut hulls and sawdust on the floor. For fifty cents or maybe a dollar you could get a crab, a red potato and half an ear of corn wrapped in newsprint. My grandmother's sister Viola and her husband, Hiram, owned and ran it. You know how it goes: Mama Emma was the pious church girl, Viola ran the beer garden and the baby girl, my mother's youngest sister, Inez, was a teacher. Anyhow, our little house must have been cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap--Oh God, it was po' and nasty! We had indoor plumbing but there were roaches and all that stuff. It was funky, tired, to' down, wretched and just awful!

Daddy Leroy would come see us all the time while we lived in that shotgun shack. He and my grandmother lived together and seemed to get along just fine, but Grandmom was way off into ...

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Release Date!

Ok Bassetthounds,

I know we have been waiting for the book release, originally set for January. But According to Amazon and, " This title will be released on February 14, 2007." This actually makes the most since! Release a love story ON Valentines Day. Yes, we have to wait another month, but trust me-it will be worth it!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

LA Stage Interview Cont'd

Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett are sitting for their first interview at the end of the first day of rehearsal on the first day of a month that bears the first name of the man responsible for the duo appearing on stage together- for the first time.

Coincidence? Or merely the metaphysical hand of Aunt Ester at work.

Perhaps August Wilson’s famous conjure woman is indeed behind the whirlwind series of synchronistic events responsible for one of Hollywood’s most celebrated screen couples starring in the Playhouse’s revival of his Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award winning play Fences Directed by its Artistic Director Sheldon Epps. The Production also features Bryan Clark (His Girl Friday), Kadeem Hardison (A Different World), Orlando Jones (Drumline), Wendell Pierce (The Boys of Winter) and Victoria Matthews (Les Miserables).

After all, it was Epps who approached Bassett in May with the idea of playing Rose, the wife of former Negro League baseball star turned garbage collector Troy Maxson, knowing it was one in million chance. Bassett and husband Courtney Vance, who had originated the role of Troy and Rose’s son Cory in the famed Broadway production, had recently become the parents of twins.

What Epps didn’t know at the time was that Fishburne had suggested the idea to her a month earlier during a special screening in Sacramento for Governor Schwarzenegger of their new film Akeelah and the Bee. Akeelah marked the ending of a 14 year hiatus for the duo following their acclaimed 1992 Oscar nominated performances as Ike and Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It? and their screen couple debut the previous year in Boyz in the Hood. The experience rekindled their desire to act together and on stage.

“After Akeelah, it was very evident we both wanted to work with each other again,” admits Fishburne, “especially on some material we could really sink our teeth into like….”

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” interjects Bassett, in a manner reminiscent of long term couples jointly telling a story.
“A Raisin in the Sun, Cat, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” he continues without breaking his rhythm. “And I actually offhandedly said, ‘We should get together in a couple of years and do Fences.”

“And I said, ah!” says Bassett with a dramatic inhale. “That’s interesting. Of course, I’m remembering James Earl Jones and Mary Alice, and Courtney-who has been pushing for Laurence and me to work together. He thinks it’s a brilliant idea.”

“Yeah, in a couple years, when the babies are bigger,” adds Fishburne smiling.

“And we‘ll be the right ages,” says Bassett. “Then a month later, Sheldon faxes me this letter that he had the rights to Fences. And I went, oooh!” She makes her eyes wide as Fishburne laughs. “Which is how you get a little frightened. It’s an excitement because it’s something you dare to hope for and desire. So with Laurence and I speaking together and this fax coming a month later, I thought the stars had aligned in the heavens. And it was meant to be.”

But Fishburne was just about to step on stage in Alfred Uhry’s Without Walls at the Taper beginning in June. Why would he want to jump from one play into another? Bassett convinced a skeptical Epps that the answer would be yes, and after several visits to the Taper to discuss the possibility, Fishburne agreed to make it happen.

“There was no way not to say yes,” he admits. “Ultimately it was an opportunity to do the thing that has been in my heart since we worked with each other two years ago. Our history is 20 plus years you know and we haven’t played live together. The first time I saw Angela on stage was in Joe Turner. And she came to see something I did. I think it was Urban Blight. "

“Sheldon also just seemed to be divinely placed as the right man. I mean his spirit, his intelligence and his history with the playhouse. For an American actor to play the Pasadena Playhouse is a significant thing.”

A Deep Wilson History

Any joint stage debut by Fishburne and Bassett would merit heralding as a theatrical event. What makes this production of Fences a singular experience is its opportunity to witness two gifted artists whose legacies are uniquely connected to each other, the playwright and the creative birth of several of his plays.

Both actors have deeply personal and professional histories with Wilson and the man who discovered, coached and mentored him-famed staged director Lloyd Richards. His recent death at 87 in July brought to an end the trio of men responsible for Wilson’s historic cycle of 10 plays: producer Benjamin Mordecai in May 2005 at age 60 and Wilson himself lat October, also at 60.

“I think what’s interesting and what’s on our side is our history with August and Lloyd,” says Fishburne. “We both have history with these men and thus the world that August created in the cycle of plays.”
“I feel we’re part of a company,” concurs Bassett.

“We have the great good fortune to have that solid foundation from which to build our careers as actors,” adds Fishburne. “We’ve maintained a kind of integrity that I think is partly because of what we’ve gotten from Lloyd, what we naturally come with ourselves and the connection we have to the culture the plays are steeped in. Our respect for it. Our reverence for it. Our love of these people, these places, these stories. I think we are divinely placed to be playing these parts at this point in our careers.”

Bassett made her initial connection to the duo when she selected for Richards’ 1979 class as Dean of the Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre. At the time, he was concurrently the Artistic Director of the O’Neill Theatre Center and its annual Nation Playwright’s Conference. In 1982, he chose Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom from stacks of submissions for inclusion in the year’s summer workshop. It would undergo what would ultimately become Richard’s hallmark development process for all of Wilson’s subsequent plays-a Yale Rep premiere followed by carious regional productions prior to mounting a Broadway run.

Both Fishburne and Bassett have traveled the full journey of a new Wilson play, starting at Yale and ending with their Broadway debut under Richards’ tutelage- Bassett in 1988 in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Fishburne in Two Trains Running for which he earned the 1992 Tony Award. Fishburne subsequently did one of the first readings of King Hedley II at Seattle Rep and Gem of the Ocean at the Taper.

It is Bassett however who participated in the playwright’s mythic beginnings when Richards tapped her as a student to spend that now storied 1982 summer shaping Ma Rainey. She remembers Wilson as being “dear and studious.”
“Lloyd saw something in that poet at the time who had written this play,” she recalls. “August always had his pen and yellow legal pads.. He seemed awfully shy but if you talked to him about a character, he’d get excited and tell you stories. ‘I got a story about a man who stole a bucket of nails.” She laughs. “That wound up in Gem of the Ocean. I guess he was like Virginia Woolf, you know? A room of one’s own. That writer. That profession. Having to spend so much time alone.”

Through staged readings, Bassett and other actors helped Wilson transform the first play in what would become his cycle of 10.

“We performed it,” she says. “We shaped it. I was Ma’s gal Dussie Mae. You saw his whole world with just a script In hand. A bare stage. Folding chair. Not much of anything. But you saw that world and you knew it was special. You were just so happy to have a great play to tackle. Then to come to the second year and see Fences on an outdoor stage. I wasn’t part of that one but to see Howard Rollins as Gabriel raise that trumpet to the heavens. It was a glorious night. We had goose bumps for a week.”

Richards directed the milestone 1987 Broadway production of Fences that ran for 525 performances and garnered Tony Awards for him and its legendary stars James Earl Jones and Mary Alice, plus a Theatre World Award for Courtney Vance. Fishburne and Bassett have vivid recollections of those performers.

“I remember being up in the cheap seats and James Earl scratching his back on the tree,” says Fishburne. “I remember Mary pounding him on the chest. I remember that transformation Courtney make from being Cory to Corporal Maxson who was a completely different creature. I just remember him being a striking man when he came on wearing that uniform and being taken by that.”

“I remember the audience enraptured with what was going on onstage,” recalls Bassett. It was a kind of church in there. It was sacred. If you thought you wanted to be an actor, you could catch the fever in that theatre with that show. So many people caught a fever. They haven’t gotten over it yet seeing those performances.”

“I auditioned for the part of Lyons,” Fishburne admits. “I auditioned for Lloyd five times before I got a gig. But it was weird. I’d never meet August. I’d go in these rooms and Lloyd would be there. He’d tell me something but I didn’t get what he was after. He had no way of articulating it for me. H played his cards really close to the vest.”

Bassett agrees. “Lloyd didn’t tell you thing straight. He didn’t tell you what to do. He never told August. If there was something, he’d say, ‘August, there’s one scene too many.’ he wouldn’t tell you this scene has to go or this part. He tried not to squash your creative impulse.”

Both actors believe that what Richards and Wilson created together was very special. According to them, neither man could have done it without the other.

“It was such a gift,” says Fishburne. “I remember seeing August plays as a young person before I realized what the connection was between him and Lloyd. I didn’t even know that Lloyd was a founding member of the Negro Ensemble Theatre and I started out at NEC when I was 14. Once I realized who he was, I said wow this is great. As long as August Keeps writing plays, I’ll have work to do when I’m 50 or 60.”

Read the rest of the interview here: "Their Legacy as Creative Partners".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Times Like These

During times like these, when there is a gap between Angela Bassett movies and news I like to search for anything from the past that'll help with the wait. Heres what I found:

Angela on her comedic potential:
"I am so much the drama queen," she says. "So I don't think that I am funny on screen. It is such a difficult thing to be genuinely funny on screen. But I didn't spend too much time sitting around thinking, `How can I make this funny?' My thought is always 'How can I make this honest?' "

"Early in my career I was in a play with five white guys, playing Mary and Eve and all the women. And I asked the director, why did you pick me? And she said because you were the best actor for the job. That empowered me. It gave me a sense that there are some people who get it."

Angela's Future plans (1993): Wants to marry and have kids "soon as I find the perfect guy." An actor? "I hope not." (Um try again missy, Courtney wouldnt like that answer!!!)

Speaking of Courtney, Angie says: "He makes me laugh."

An interview in Orlando, FL: "I'm a pretty shy sort of person, a Florida girl, you know," she says, grinning. "I try to maintain that Southern charm." Later, at a ceremony at Walt Disney World, the Florida girl from St. Pete carves her signature and presses her hands in a block of cement as she winks at her younger sister, who is so proud she's crying.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Angela, Courtney and the Twins

"You just don't believe you're holding them," writes Bassett (recalling the births of twins Slater, in her arms, and Bronwyn). "It's kind of like: Really? Truly? Finally?"

They first met as students at Yale School of Drama. But it wasn’t until Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance became Hollywood stars that they felt a spark. In Friend...A Love Story, they tell the whole tale-from childhood to their 1997 wedding and a subsequent struggle with infertility that took them through two miscarriages and seven in vitro fertilization treatments. Fortunately, there’s a happy ending. Here the couple share their joy at becoming parents to twins Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah on Jan. 27, 2006, through a surrogate.

Angela: Slater is very yellowish; he has my undertones. Bronwyn is a little bigger. Her color is a little ruddier, like Courtney’s. We watch and watch them. After a while Slater opens one eye for a millisecond. Just for that second I could see one black pupil, a glimpse of the eyes I’ll soon stare into lovingly. Our amazing journey was about to begin!

Courtney: Angela and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to lay the foundation for the kind of people we want our children to become. We know that Bronwyn and Slater will need strong Biblical roots to withstand all the temptations Hollywood will present them. I know that teaching them discipline is essential. I want my child to like me just like every parent does. For now, though, I’m not going to be their friend. For now, I’ve got to lay that discipline in there day by day.

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where racial prejudice exists. Therefore, we will teach our children how to navigate racism. Above all, we’re going to raise them to have a deep love of people. I think of the amazing journey of our children’s existence each and every time Angela and I look into their bright little eyes. I know God has an amazing plan in store for all of us. Our hands and our hearts are full.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Just Because...

Just because I'm crazy excited for Angela and Courtney's book I thought I'd share yet another description of it from Man, Janurary couldnt get here soon enough for me.

Book Description
Courtney B. Vance met Angela Bassett.....

They ran for years as friends in the same small circles. They had some hits, but mostly misses with other partners, and they shared one spectacularly dreadful first date together. And then, Courtney and Angela connected.

Experience the up-close-and-personal, real-life love story of this inspirational African-American celebrity couple. Learn how they navigate the fickle tides of fame, while keeping their relationship fresh and true. See how they've carved a meaningful life together in spite of humble beginnings, family tragedy and the ups and downs of stardom with love, faith and determination.

*I wonder if the book is written in 3rd or 1st person. If our suspicions are right then the book will be in 3rd person, detailing their relationship from a narrators point of view. Any thoughts??

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Truth About Angie II

Read the First Truth

*Angela on her time in Strange Days
"The kiss -- I was always looking forward to it. Ralph is kind of cute. We really didn't make any big deal out of it. You don't see too many interracial relationships or romances or buddies or whatever."

*Angela Bassett was actually scheduled and ready to play Storm in the first X-Men film in 1995, but there were two factors that led in Halle Berry nabbing the part.

  1. It took so long for them to start production that by the time they were ready in 2000 Angela was off filming a little movie called Supernova *trying not to cry*

  2. Rumor mill says that after an early re-write of the script that lessened Storm's role in the film, Angela backed out from the part
*Angela and Courtney talk about working together during the play, His Girl Friday:
Bassett has learned one thing about her husband. "He won't run lines with me," said Bassett without rancor. "I don't know what that's about, but he'll run lines with everyone else but me "

Vance: "Well, I learn my lines by blocking, by walking them out, and I don't have them down yet. You're catching us in the throes of rehearsal here, and we're still getting new lines."

*Angela on Journalists:
Playing a reporter in "His Girl Friday" puts Bassett in a somewhat odd position. Journalists, she said angrily, "win your confidence and then take you all out of context."

Bassett's biggest dustup with the press came after the news that she had been offered the lead in the 2001 movie, "Monster's Ball." After reading an early version of the script and realizing she didn't like the character, Bassett declined. Halle Berry stepped in, and eventually won an Oscar. The published article, flashed around the world, said Bassett had refused to play a prostitute.

Even now, all Bassett will say about it is, "I guess I know something about journalists."

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Strange Days, Strange People

This is like a "WTF Files" post: There is a comdian in NYC that wrote about a dream he had, he was at a crazy cool News Years Eve party back in 1998. His name is Joe Mande and in his dream he is in the mens restroom trying to urinate, but having problems succeeding. When a nosy stranger comes in curiously watching him. This excerpt is his dream in his words, definitely a classic WTF?! moment:

I turn my head, ready to start a fight, when I’m shocked to see that my peeping tom is none other than Oscar-nominated black actress Angela Bassett! She looks great, wearing a tight red leather suit. Her hair is a messy tangle of long skinny braids. And there she is standing next to me, looking right into my eyes, taking a piss into the urinal. I don’t know how she’s doing it, but I can distinctly hear a trickle.

    “Hello, Joe,” she says, “Having some trouble?”

    “What? How do you know my name?”

    “I know more than you think, baby.” With a smirk, she looks me up and down, her eyes locking in on my uncooperative member.

    “You seem to be having problems with your penis.”

    “You shut up, Angela Bassett!” I yell defensively, zipping up my fly. “What the hell is going on here? Why are you in the men’s room? And how are you peeing like a man?”

She shakes her head. “I can’t tell you that, I’m sorry.”

    “I want answers, Bassett!” I say, my finger in her face. “How are you doing that?”

    “Sorry, Joe. I can’t.”

    “Seriously, are you using a shoehorn or something? I need to know”

She’s begun ignoring me; staring at the grout between the black tiles.

    “Please, Angela” I whimper pathetically. “Please tell me.”

She sighs. “I’ll tell you…under one condition.”


    “You have to pee for me, Joe.” She looks back at me. “Pee and I’ll tell you.”

    “I can’t.”

Her eyes get angry. “What do you mean you can’t?”

    “I can’t because this is a dream.”

She rolls her eyes and lets out a sarcastic laugh.

    “I know it’s 1998 in reality.”


    “This has to be a dream,” I tell her. “I mean, look, I’m in a men’s room, having a conversation with you, Angela Bassett. Plus, I can’t even grow a goatee. And I’ve never even been to a dance club, which probably explains why this fantasy disco is so lame.”

I’m a little impressed by my calm, matter of fact demeanor. I’ve always dreamt of taking over a dream like this.

    “That explains why I’m having such a hard time peeing. My body knows I shouldn’t. Because if I start peeing now, I’m going to wake up in my bed covered in urine.”

She smiles a wide, manipulative smile. She has great teeth. “You seem very sure of yourself, Joe Mande.”

    “I’m pretty positive this is a fantasy. Sorry, Angela.”

    “That’s ok,” she says, leaning back just far enough for me to see a beautiful golden stream somehow gushing from her lower pelvis, “I guess you’ll never know the secret to how a grown black woman, such as myself, can urinate standing up.”

On the other side of the door, the club-goers have started the count down to 2000. They’re screaming at the top of their lungs.


I start to panic. How sure can I be this is a dream? What if it’s not? The world might end in less than ten seconds. I could die without knowing how Angela Bassett pees like a man. I would deny myself that knowledge because of my own hubris, for being as stubborn as my penis.


Angela keeps smiling at me, breaking my composure. Damn the consequences, it’s New Years. I punch my leg and yell, “Fine! I’ll do it! I need to know!”

I close my eyes and clench my teeth. My urethra bursts open. Pressure eases out of my loins. It feels good, and so very warm. Suddenly, I hear laughing from behind. I turn around, continuing to piss on the tile floor. It’s Angela, leaning next to the sink, laughing while adjusting her fly.

    “Why are you laughing?” I’m on the verge of tears. “Please, tell me how you do it. It’s a shoehorn isn’t it?”

    “Sorry, Joe. I can’t tell you.” She flips her braids over her shoulder and grabs the handle to the door. “Maybe next time.”

    “You hateful bitch!”

She opens the door and disappears into the crowd.


The door eases shut. My urethra does the same. I begin to weep.
    “I’ll get you back Angela Bassett. If it’s the last thing I do.”

You can contact Joe Mande via Myspace or his website

New Pics!

There are new pictures of Angela at The Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan Annual Holiday Party on! Go check them out! Angela loves the kids!

LA Stage Interview

A Legacy as Creative Partners

While Fisburne and Bassett may be wedded to other people, they exhibit a level of intimacy honed together over two decades as part time screen partners and full time off camera friends. They clearly celebrated one another, alternating between playful kidding, tender acknowledgement and genuine pride regarding the journeys taken as a team and separately as individuals. Both appear grateful for this latest opportunity to mine the creative depths with each other.

“We have this history as actors together that’s crazy,” admits Fishburne. “I think it is only similar to James Earl and Cicely Tyson who worked together for the early ‘60s in The Blacks at the Negro Ensemble Company. They played lovers in that piece. All the way up through the other things they did with each other on film. So we’re really lucky and blessed to have a kind of creative partnership we’ve sustained all these years.”

“We didn’t start out to intentionally try to have this legacy,” admits Bassett. “It just happened. In a theatrical sense, I’m married to the man!” She laughs, turning to Fishburne.

“Thank you,” he replies, smiling at her and taking her hand. “I know that I love Angela. I’ve loved Angela since I first saw her onstage.” He turns to look in her eyes and says, “I love you.”

Bassett is visibly touched. “Thank you. I love you, too.”

"I know that it’s beyond explanation that stuff that happens between us when we work together,” he admits. “The word I use is freedom. There’s a kind of freedom that I experience. We’re free with each other. There’s nothing we can’t do. There’s no place we can’t go. There’s no boundary we can’t push. It’s completely safe.”

“I feel I can make a fool out of myself with him,” she laughs. “And it’s OK. You know?”

“The other thing that I think is really, really precious is the fact we were both touched, taught, schooled, educated, brought along, lifted up by August and Lloyd,” he adds. “It gives us wings to fly.”

Bassett suddenly turns to Fishburne and says softly, “Lloyd knew we were going to do this. Courtney went to see him in the hospital and told him we were going to do this together.”

Fishburne is surprised. “He did?”

She nods. “He was very pleased.”

“I bet he smiled,” he says.

“He did,” she replies and laughs. “Yeah!”

Fishburne joins her, both appreciating the divine timing of Richards’s final acknowledgement.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Angela Speaks on New Book!

Hey yall, Check out a brief from an interview with Angela on the new Book by PW Weekly! Sorry I don't have the full interview :( But something is ALWAYS better than nothing at all! Enjoy!

Three Answers: Angela Bassett
by Dick Donahue, PW Daily -- 12/4/2006
Three Answers today are from Angela Bassett, whose Friends: A Love Story, written with her husband, Courtney Vance, will be published next month by the Kimani Press imprint of Harlequin Books.

PW: How did you get hooked up with Harlequin?
Angela Bassett: There were a number of publishing houses that we went to, and for me to do something this personal, I really had to sort of get a warm and fuzzy feeling from the people in the room, you know? That they would appreciate our story and what we had to say as human beings. The folks at Harlequin were those people; they made us feel very comfortable. Also, it was the first book for this new imprint, and that’s sort of nice, to be a first like that.

PW: Who do you see as the audience for this book?
AB: Probably people from 16 to—I don’t know, when do folks stop dating? Sixteen to, maybe 68. I think people will see a bit of themselves. Relationships are so varied and so many, and we’re all on a quest to be understood and to be loved for who we are—and the good and the bad in us. The dilemma of a relationship, you know? I think if you’re going to take the time to write about yourself, then talk honestly about what you’ve been through and some of your journeys and maybe others can learn from it.

PW: How much of the book was you, how much was Courtney, and how much was your co-writer, Hilary Beard?
AB: Courtney and I both met with Hilary. [Courtney] since Hilary could be male or female name, “he” could be confusing. sjr was in New York so he spent time with her there; then she came out [to L.A.]. She made it very comfortable; I just talked into a recorder. We just had a conversation, and she would ask questions.... Even if she asked a provocative question, I could go on and on. You ask nicely and you have a way about yourself, then I get a feeling it’s safe to share, and I’m open about it.

Sound off here! Post a comment to PW

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Its a Hit at Walmart

The Bible Experience is a full-fledged audio production of the New Testament, but the folks voicing the likes of Jesus, Mary, the angels, and even God are all too familiar. The dramatized version of the Bible is read by numerous black celebrities grateful to profess their faith including Samuel L. Jackson, Blair Underwood, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Angela Bassett. The Bible Experience has been at #1 on the top Walmart sellers list for months now which is no surprise because black folks love them some Jesus!

I bought the damn thing, from Walmart of course, and I say its definitely one to pick eBay. You'll want it for your collection, but at that price. Dont buy it for full price if you already know the Bible. Its ideal for people who havent gotten all the way into the good book or would rather listen to it than read. This might help you decide on whether to purchase it: Angela talks about the Bible Experience and her faith.

Angie is very...dramatic in the readings and its easy to tell shes passionate about the subject. Everybody else is on their A-game as well. Hooting, crying, shouting, and hollering; trying to act their way up to heaven and they should make it too. You'll have a hell of time figuring out which voice belongs to which actor, but enjoy the word as it is in The Bible Experience folks.

Old School Angie!

Baby Angie

Angela with Joe Morton in City of Hope (1991)

Angela with James Avery during their TV series A Man Called Hawk (1989)

Finally...a chubby Angela Bassett (1993)


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