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Friday, February 19, 2010

Lets Try This Again

Well everyone lets try this again. The Salon Chair Ministry was postponed because of the snow storm that swept across the region two weeks ago. This Saturday February 20th at the Waffle shop. We will be taping all night from 9pm-2am. Read the post from two weeks ago to learn about the show and how the whole idea came to be. Hope to see you tomorrow!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our Snow Day

Hey everyone! I hope that everyone is staying warm here in Pittsburgh where we have gotten approx. 20inches of snow in some places. Many people have or had lost power at some point in this blizzard over the weekend. To those people, I am happy for you that things are back to normal. When a few of my friends around the city told me that they hadn't any power, it made me think. At anytime any one of us could be in the house and loose power, water, heat etc. Lets learn from this snow storm, and be prepared for the next one, or ANY storm for that matter. Candles, flares, flashlights, extra blankets, gallons of water, and other essentials that will get you and your family through a period until the power is restored. Fortune favors the prepared. Ok, so I wanted to share with you all what I was doing on the day of the blizzard which was Saturday. Malik, Montrose, and I ventured out of the house, down the driveway, and onto the street to see what the world outside of the gate looked like. sounds simple, but...umm...not so much. Its funny, and being stuck in the house sucks so, this is my way of reaching out to the world. Enjoy, no big deal, just fun! "Its all fun and games til somebody gets hurt!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Get Your Theater On!!

Omg! Last night I went to see the Tony award winning production In The Heights, and it was wonderful!  Being the buff for musical productions like I am, I can be a bit critical when it comes to stage performances.  I critique the set, the singing, the timing, even the lights!  In The Heights did not disappoint me, and I am sure that it will not disappoint you.  Below is an interview conducted by our guest celebrity blogger Allegra Battle Johnson of  Reality Chicks for SpotlightPittsburgh.  Read on as Allegra talks with one of the lead characters of this touring production.

If you think there’s not enough cultural diversity in Pittsburgh, then you need to check out The Broadway musical, “In The Heights” (Playing now at the Benedum Center). With the perfect fusion of Latin, Hip Hop, Soul and Caribbean music; “In the Heights” will leave with enough cultural diversity to last a lifetime! Ok, not really a lifetime but for a really long time!

Set in Manhattan’s Washington Heights “In The Heights” has won a number of awards, including a Tony for Best Musical (2008). The show takes you on musical journey, with a neighborhood bodega as the backdrop. It’s all about finding out where you belong and loving and appreciating traditions and family.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Rogelio Douglas Jr. who plays “Benny”, the big dreamer who is best friends with Usnavi and finds himself in love with Nina. Here’s a bit of our conversation.

SLP: First of all, I had a chance to see the show last night, and it was amazing, you were awesome.

RDJ: Thank You, thank you so much. It was a long day for us but we always seem to pull it together. It was fun, this is an easy job, and I’m like wow this is called work!

SLP: Tell me a little bit about the process of you becoming a part of the national tour of “In The Heights”.

RDJ: Ok, my process overall began before the national tour. I am actually a part of the original Broadway cast. (Swing, understudy) When I finally got on as Benny, like 9 months into the run, I had to leave the show for a little while because I was booked in “The Little Mermaid” as Sebastian the Crab. And from there, they let me know that they were looking to get the tour together. But at the time I was like “I am on Broadway now” (laughs) and I didn’t know if I wanted to leave New York; cause you know when you finally get your front toe through the door it takes so long for that to happen and you want to explore the New York market a little more. Then the show unfortunately closed (The Little Mermaid) and then they called me and said the offer still stands, would you like to go on tour?

SLP: Compared to being on Broadway, how is it touring?

RDJ: It’s a challenge! (Laughs) Its definitely a challenge. Being on tour, it’s an unsettling lifestyle, while on Broadway you get to go home and you can unwind and get together with family and friends. On the road, you have to pack up your life every week. In theater we get one day off every week and while your on the road, your one day off is a travel day. Sometimes it can be very daunting but its fun.

SLP: Speaking of a little challenge, in the show you have such a diverse mix of music, Latin, Jazz, Hip Hop and a lot of the show is in Spanish. What that a challenge for you?

RDJ: Well, I actually speak Spanish. I am first generation American but my Mother and Father migrated from Panama. It’s all the music I grew up with. Growing up as a young Latino, Black Latino I guess you could say. All the music I listened to. I listen to Hip Hop because of my Mother I listened to Jazz. My father loved his Salsa and Merengue.

SLP: That seems to be an advantage.

RDJ: It is. It is actually. I love to push myself and this show demands it. For me the hip hop comes naturally and some of the singing but then how do I show Benny’s journey, and what he’s going through.

SPL: I’m wrapping up but I just wanted to get your thoughts on the devastation in Haiti. As a performer, what is, and do you think you have a responsibility as far as helping with the recovery?

RDJ: Absolutely, I think the devastation going on there and the people that are still in need of aid. Even with the efforts going on now, the food banks over there are only able to feed 1 in 8 people, so there is so much more that we need to do. Coming together globally to do our part to help lift them up and help the country get back on their feet again. In the last tour city we were able to raise money for the relief efforts.

And it touches close to me, because my childhood best friend is Haitian and his family unfortunately lost a home. His Mother, Grandmother and uncle and aunt were over there, they had left 3 days prior to it and they are going through it right now.

SLP: And finally were can we see you next, what’s going on with you after the tour?

RDJ: I consider myself a jack of all trades; I do jingles, voiceovers I have been looking, God willing to crack into the film and television world. I am currently writing music. I love to perform live. You just have to stay tuned. You can check out my website, there’s my shameless plug right now (laughs). You can check me out on I’m just on this journey right now; you just have to stay tuned!

In The Heights @ the Benedum Center now through February 7, 2010

To read more celebrity interviews and get your reality tv fix, visit Reality Chicks @

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Its Time for Another Show!

Hey everyone, I am sure that you are all well.  It is that time again.  Time for another viewing/taping of The Salon Chair Ministry talk show!!  If you have not seen the first show, then scroll down this page some and click the youtube link to the show.   So, the second installment of the show that has everyone talking is coming this Saturday Feb. 6th @8pm and @12am (two shows).  This is a formal invite from me  to YOU!  The response to the show has been nothing but positive.  The waffles hop has been very helpful in making this show a success so far.  All of the editing and the opening of the show has been done by the waffle shops very talented crew.  If you didn't know, the waffle shop is an experimental platform that fosters an organic free form approach to the talk show.  The shop encourages customers/participants to create a show that is interesting and fun.  The first show that I decided to have at the waffle shop was the SpotlightPittsburgh Show which was a bit of a snoozer.  It featured an array of artists, authors, and community people that are here in Pittsburgh sharing their knowledge and talents with the city.  It was well received, but lacked flavor.  When it came time to discuss what the next show would be about, I knew that in order to keep it fun and exciting, the format would have to be different.  As we sat and brainstormed the next show on a cold November day, many great ideas were swirling in the ether.  In a matter of fact manner I spoke about how being a make up artist / hair stylist yeilds much conversation.  Almost instantly the room lit up with energy and a collective, "that is what the show should be about!", filled the room.  I joked about how I have had a salon chair ministry for years, and the rest was as they say, history, or mystory.  The first show went off well, and the waffle shop was a buzz with eating, talking, and much laughter, we had a great time.  Some things will be a little different this time around, but the elements that make the show worth doing will be in abundant supply.  Conversation, wine, laughter and fun will be flowing like water, and you might learn a thing or two about hair/make up!   Hope to see you @ the Waffle shop this Saturday night for the Salon Chair Ministry!!  RSVP on FB  Btw, men are strongly encouraged to attend.