Fashion Reverie Celebrates Cicely Tyson

Image courtesy of Ala Midwinter

Television and the stage recently lost Cicely Tyson, the trailblazing actress who died at age 96 and appeared in more than 100 film, television, and stage roles. She was born in Harlem in a religious household and grew up singing in the choir. So, it was not unexpected that her mom was not very happy to hear her daughter wanted to become an actress. In fact, Tyson’s mother threw her out of the house. Apparently, the two didn’t speak for a while until her mom saw Cicely on stage. 

“There was no sense in arguing with my mother. What she was forbidding me to do I was already headlong into doing, with no intention of reversing course,” Tyson wrote in her memoir. Tyson added, “Mom had hoped to douse my burgeoning dream with her condemnation, prayed she could snuff it out with a stinging decree. But she’d inadvertently lit a match beneath me.”

Images courtesy of popsugar.com, Getty Images and houstonchronicle.com

Fashion

Cicely Tyson was a model first before became gainfully employed as an actress. Tyson got her start as a model working for the Grace Del Marco modeling agency, a black modeling agency in New York City. Later, Tyson was discovered by Ebony magazine and became a successful fashion model. Her sense of fashion and her connection to fashion remained and was obvious on red carpets and awards shows. One of her favorite designers was B Michael America and we could often see the two of at the events together.  

 

Her Daughter

Cicely Tyson was very private about her personal life, not letting anyone know her age for a long time. She was also very hush hush about her daughter.

 In her book, Just As I Am, Cicely discusses her daughter and their relationship for the first time. According to USA Today, the book reveals Cicely had her daughter, Joan, when she was only 17.  Cicely dedicated this book to her daughter, which is a very revealing title.  She wrote about their relationship “as fragile as it is precious.”

Images courtesy of pinterest.com, shondaland.com, and imbd.com, respectively

Big Screen, Television, and Stage

Cicely Tyson’s first role in a television series was in 1951 for “Frontiers of Faith” and her first film role was in the 1956 film “Carib Gold.” Tyson followed those roles with other numerous small roles and finally appeared on stage at the Harlem YMCA in the 1958 production Dark of the Moon.” 

Stage roles kept coming! She was a part of the original cast of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” acting alongside James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Roxy Roker, and Maya Angelou which was the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade! 

Tyson received her first award the Vernon Rice Award after known as the Drama Desk Award for her outstanding performance in another off-Broadway production, “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.

Soon after, Tyson became a well-known celebrity. Once she was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards for her role of Rebecca Morgan in the movie “Sounder.” In this period in the 1970s, Tyson portrayed several strong black women in film and television, Rebecca Morgan in “Sounder,” Jane Pittman in “The Autobiography of “Jane Pittman,” and Harriet Tubman in “A Woman Called Moses.”

Other performances that should be noted is her performance in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, “Fried Green Tomatoes,”  The Women of Brewster Place,” “Sweet Justice,” “Hoodlum,” “The Help,” and a recurring role on “How To Get Away With Murder.” And at the age of 88 Cicely Tyson became the oldest recipient of the Best Actress Tony Award when she won for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Miss Carrie Watts in “The Trip to Bountiful.”

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

Honors 

Cicely received several honors and was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and was honored at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. Many of us still have a crystal-clear memory of when Tyson was awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama in November 2016.

Always happy, always smiling and always super stylish, Tyson loved ruffles and big sleeves, bright colors, red and purple. Her petite figure was always wrapped up in beautiful fabrics with more than few wise things to share. Cicely was an inspiration and she raised a bar high when it comes to being an honorable and successful, independent woman.

—Tijana Ibrahimovic

What Are Broadway Performers Doing during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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2021 certainly looks brighter; however, we did bring some luggage from 2020. Many businesses are still struggling, and the entertainment and fashion industries are adjusting without film debuts, red carpets, live concerts, live fashion shows, and live Broadway shows. The experience of live performances is simply impossible to improvise.

Last spring, 41 theaters turned off their stage lights,  actors left their dressing rooms full of their personal belongings as if they would be back soon from a long weekend and almost a year later we are all wondering when will Broadway be back ?“I think Broadway will definitely be back at some point in 2021. I’m sure there are going to be some changes—while you can’t exactly distance—or seat every other chair in a Broadway theater (it won’t be profitable); I bet we’ll be seeing some plexiglass—or even an added matinee or two if some seats do have to be removed. Not only is New York City missing the $14B a year that live performances bring in, but over 200,000 arts workers in New York City alone are without a job and health insurance —we cannot keep them from working, or from their livelihood,”says Lauren Conlin, Host  and Producer, “Red Carpet Rendezvous” Podcast.

Images courtesy of medium.com

“I miss the theater SO MUCH! I had tickets to “Company” and “Hadestown” before the [COVID-19] pandemic, and I was very excited for the play “Drift” to open off-Broadway. The sad part is, I don’t even think “Drift” will come back—and that’s upsetting, because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see it—especially with the cast they had (Joe Pantoliano as the lead.) So many shows shut down before they could even open,” continues Conlin.

Lauren recently interviewed Claybourne Elder for her “Red Carpet Rendezvous“ podcast about who was starring in the ‘woke’ version of “Company’” on Broadway opposite Tony Award winners Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone before the Broadway shutdown. He is an ambitious home chef, so during this pandemic shutdown he became a spokesperson for kitchen products!

Cicily Daniels images courtesy of pinterest.com

Talented Broadway performers have had to simply reset and explore other options of utilizing their skills. Cicily Daniels most recently seen in the Tony-award winning revival of “​Once On This Island​” and was also an original Broadway cast member of ​Disney’s “The Little Mermaid​,” where she performed the leading role of Ursula, the Sea Witch has been off stage since March of last year.

I don’t think that Broadway will return until fall 2021, at the earliest.  I wonder how it will be done, especially at first—will there be pods inside the theater, will the tickets be extremely expensive?  I am hoping that there aren’t too many changes to theater, but perhaps, there will be a greater commitment to maintaining actors’ health and creating a safe environment onstage and off,” explains Cicily Daniels.  “Unfortunately, like in every industry, there are theaters, theater companies, and shows that will have been unable to survive the pandemic.  There are several Broadway shows that have closed and will not re-open.  Some theater professionals will also not return to Broadway—some have moved away or changed industries.  More tragically, there are several members of the Broadway community who have died,” Cicily continues.

“Hadestown” image courtesy of pinterest.com

“That said, I believe that the Broadway community is extraordinarily resilient, and will be back.  Broadway and theater are an integral part of New York City, and Broadway will still be a mecca of theater across the world.  I also think that all of this time self-isolating is going to make people hungry for the ability to experience live theater, so hopefully, it will mean more shows and more opportunities for Broadway professionals.” 

There is a positive side to every story. “Fashion Reverie Talks” has a Broadway star Cicily as a co-host!! “Fashion Reverie Talks” keep Cicily busy with fashion coverage while she has been working on “The Loving Project,” with her husband, composer Brett Macias. “The Loving Project “examines interracial relationships and other social issues from The Loving Supreme Court case until today. Because downtime due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cicily has become an even better baker, to the excitement of her husband and 3-year-old daughter, “but to the detriment of my waistline,” she noted laughingly!

Alex Brightman in “Beetlejuice” image courtesy of themarysue.com

“Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight has explained several times that the show’s producers are trying to hire as many Broadway actors as possible during the pandemic. Some of the stars we have already seen on “Law & Order: SVU” are Tony-nominated “Hadestown” actor Eva Noblezada and “Beetlejuice” lead actor Alex Brightman.

Stage actors already cast in parts for this season of “Law & Order” include the Tony-winning Adriane Lenox,” Doubt: A Parable,” and  “After Midnight;” Elizabeth Marvel, “King Lear,” “Picnic;” Jane Bruce, “Jagged Little Pill;”  Jelani Alladin, “Frozen;” Michael Mastro, “Love! Valour! Compassion!,”and Betsy Aidem, “Steel Magnolias,” as originally reported in deadline.com.

What New York State is anxiously awaiting is the “New York Arts Revival” that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced couple of weeks ago. This project will offer more than 100 performances in parks, public plazas, museums, theaters, and trucks all over the state. Some highlights include the 20th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival with the opening of Little Island, a new 2.7-acre public park on Pier 55 in the Hudson River. The show must go on!!

Tijana Ibrahimovic

For SUEDE There Was a Lot of Life to Live After “Project Runway”

Have you binged on fashion reality television shows since the COVID-19 health pandemic? If you have, you’ve probably wondered what has happened to many of the talented fashion designers from “Project Runway.” In the 18 seasons of “Project Runway,” only Christian Siriano has become a household name.

Still, there was a lot of fantastic design talent on the show. (Fashion Reverie is very familiar with several designers from “Project Runway.” Some of them are friends to the site.) Did most of the contestant leave the fashion industry, move to other countries, become reality television has-beens, or just quietly get jobs in the fashion industry without much fanfare?

The latter is true for most. And that is true for SUEDE (Stephen Whitney Baum) from season 5 and “Project Runway All-Stars.”

You may remember SUEDE for his witty comebacks, blue spiky hair, and avant-garde fashion creations. And if you do, that was the plan!! However, SUEDE is so much more than that.

In this revealing interview, SUEDE talks about his stint on “Project Runway,” the opportunities that opened up for him after “Project Runway,” his love of fashion, and his new passion.

Fashion Reverie: First, how did you get the name SUEDE?

SUEDE: I attended Kent State University, where I have a lifetime endowment. Back in the day when I was just a student, I was the only guy in one of my fashion classes. We had this project, which was a very challenging project, and everyone was on edge. So, to take some of the edge off I had every gather around the fabric bin and pick a fabric. Whatever fabric you picked, you had to be that fabric for the entire day. I choose suede and the name just stuck and it became my nickname all through college.

When I auditioned for “Project Runway,” I was trying to set myself apart from all the other potential contestants, so I resurrected my nickname from college for the show. I am so glad I did that because it separated me from other designers, and it helped with branding after the show.

FR: Was fashion always something you wanted to do?

SUEDE: When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actor. I would get the Village Voice every week and look at all the apartment listings and dream about living in New York City.

Still, early in life, I was not tuned into a career in fashion. I applied to NYU to Tisch School of the Arts and my parents would not let me go to school in New York City at 17. I knew that I was creative, but I didn’t know what to do with my creativity. I knew that Kent State had a fashion program. I applied and got accepted. Even though, at the time, I wasn’t sure if a career in fashion was what I wanted, I excelled in all my classes, and over all Kent State was a great fit for me.

I moved to New York City soon after graduation and started working for Geoffrey Beene. I ended working with Alber Elbaz while at Geoffrey Beene.

FR: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

SUEDE: I believe I am very street savvy and edgy. However, when I design it is not about my personal taste, it is attempting to embody that brand. I worked for Jordache for five years, FUBU ladies, Rocawear, Polo jeans and a bunch of denim brands and working for those brands was a part of who I am because I love denim. Still, you must be able to put yourself in the consumer’s head.

FR: What brands have you worked for and in what capacity?

SUEDE: Polo jeans company, Lee jeans girls and junior division, and I worked for Geoffrey Beene on two separate occasions, Van Heusen on the sportwear side, Rocawear jeans, a lot of denim-based brands. This was in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Interestingly, that is what made being on “Project Runway” so challenging for me, is that because I had worked at these denim brands for so long and had not created or sewn a garment in some time. I was involved with merchandising and designing the denim collections and the actual production was done in some factory in another country.

When you are working for brands that are very consumer-based and mass-produced it is a huge challenge to incorporate embellishments and more advanced design aesthetics. For the most part those things don’t fit into the budget of mass-produced garments because you are making everything on a much larger scale.

FR: Everyone knows that you were on Season 5 of “Project Runway.” According to your bio, you dreamed about making friends with Tim Gunn and being on “Project Runway.” Is that true?

SUEDE: Yes, that is true. Prior to being on “Project Runway,” I was working at fashion brand that was racist and treated it’s African American and Latin workers very badly. I was having battles daily and I ended up leaving that job.

While I was in between jobs, I had a dream that Tim Gunn asked me to be on “Project Runway.” At the time I was living in Sullivan County, New York, and I decided I needed to work on my sewing skills if I was going to be a contestant on “Project Runway.” From scratch, I created this beautiful black dress which served as my audition garment for the show. And that garment got me pass the first “Project Runway” audition process.

FR:  What is your biggest takeaway from your appearance on Season 5 of “Project Runway”?

SUEDE: My participation on the show did open a lot of doors for me. That said; the fashion industry does not respond well to the talent on “Project Runway.” I was hoping that all these great fashion opportunities would come my way from the show. And that did happen to some extent.

However, what did happen from the show was the amount of notoriety that I got from appearing on “Project Runway.” I was quirky and spoke in the third person and that was a good sell for the show. And even though Obama was running for president and we were in a deep recession, people would stop me and ask me about fashion and my turn on “Project Runway.” Crazy, right?

“Project Runway” opened my eyes up to what it means to be a celebrity of some sorts and to be constantly identifiable and recognized. So, in a nutshell, “Project Runway” opened doors for me, making things easier and difficult all at once.

FR: What doors did “Project Runway” open for you?

SUEDE: I started making money by doing public appearances. You would be surprised the organizations, group, and people that will pay good money to have some one who has been on television show up at their event, party, etc.

Simplicity Patterns approached at an event, where I was making a public appearance, about working for them and making patterns and designing fabric for their company. Within a week, I had my first licensing deal with Simplicity Patterns.

FR: What was not so great about appearing on “Project Runway”?

SUEDE: I was not prepared for the hate and viciousness that was directed at me because of “Project Runway.” There was a certain drag artist that really came for me in the gay press in a series of interviews. Because I was under contract from Bravo at the time, I could not respond to this person’s venom and lack of respect.

FR: Apart from Christian Siriano, very few contestants from “Project Runway” have gone on to became household names. What is your take on that?

SUEDE: First, we are talking about two different things. We are talking about pop culture versus the fashion industry. The fashion industry is a very tight market. When you look at the fashion industry closely, the movers and shakers in the industry mostly concentrate on luxury or high-end fashion. 

Christian received a lot of support after his stint on “Project Runway” to get him to where he is now. Most of the contestants did not get that. Also, you should consider that “Project Runway” makes good television; however, good television is not the fashion industry. There is this trickle-down process in fashion and certain folks in the industry really decide who gets support and who makes it in this industry. “Project Runway,” even though there were very talented designers on the show, does not fit into that paradigm.

FR: What has your life been like after “Project Runway”?

SUEDE: My lifestyle brand SUEDEsays did very well after the show and the brand was in over 4,000 stores. I had mass brands that were buying my patterns and products and before my mom based away, we were trying to get a stronghold in the craft industry. That said; once you get into a particular market, it is very hard to go back into ready-to-wear fashion.

FR: What exactly was SUEDEsays as a brand?

SUEDE: SUEDEsays was fabrics that you could purchase to make clothing. We also produced patterns that was geared toward that home crafter. With every SUEDEsays package, I offered three patterned looks. We gave the consumer the ability to put fashion in their own hands.

Images courtesy of VERY New York

Re: You are currently selling real estate. Could you talk about that?

SUEDE:  I was recently recognized for having my real estate business increase over 2000 percent in 2019. Real estate is a great fit for me after my mom passed in 2017.  I become very depressed after my mother died. Within the two years after my mom died, I took and passed my real estate exams. And of the end of 2020, I passed the $4 million sale mark which is huge in Ohio.

FR: Are you still designing clothing?

SUEDE: I am working on a project with a company that is working on designs for the government. So, I am still working on fashion projects on the side, but it is very, very niche.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

Gadgets, Apps, and Online Services for Healthy Habits in 2021

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We all thought we were so smart in 2021. During last year’s lockdown everyone vowed we’d finish our novels, learn to speak Japanese, join that online workout class, and get in prime condition. Instead, we started drinking gin with breakfast, binged the same television shows we’d already seen, and put on 20 pounds from depression snacking. 

It was such a relief to put 2020 in the past. However, with 2021 barely two weeks old, and it feels like this new, third-wave lockdown will be going on for months!

Fashion Reverie is here to help. It’s so easy to get stuck in depression, but there are little things that can do, that really could make this a better year. Shouldn’t all our New Year’s resolutions been put in place weeks ago? We’re living in a new reality, time to be flexible. Check out this list of gadgets and apps to support you in your goals. Take a deep breath. It WILL get better.  And don’t give up if you skip a day or decide to change your goals. Progress, not perfection is the aim.

Image courtesy of Somnox

Somnox Sleep Robot
Many financial advisors will tell you there are places to cut corners, but your sleep hygiene is not that place. Lack of sleep is becoming a serious public health issue and can have a dramatic impact on one’s physical and emotional health. Somnox sleep robot retailing for $500 to $600 is not an inexpensive way to get a better night’s sleep, but many insist it’s worth the money.

You hold the bean-shaped device while sleeping–like a stuffed animal—and it mimics your heartbeat lulling you to sleep. Users have said it’s not for some people but many users report after only using it for a week or so they can’t imagine sleeping without it.  Shop around for discount codes.

Image courtesy of fcer.org

Noom App
Classic New Year resolutions; no sugar! No fat! One hundred percent vegan totally organic food! And that resolutions last for 10 hours.

Noom is an easily affordable app that helps you monitor your food, learn about your eating habits, and teaches you better skills for fitness. You can join online groups for support and tips. It’ not about being on a “diet” it’s about revamping eating habits and learn what works for you.  Make this the year you establish your good health and fitness habits with workable goals.

Image courtesy of Madison Reed

Madison Reed Hair Color
When all the hairstylists were forced to shutter their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was forced to be their own stylists. But watching our hair color fade can be so depressing. So, after a few months, we had Amazon send us boxes of drugstore hair color. One problem, while better than nothing, drugstore hair color is not good! Some stylists say they can spot it from a mile away.  Is there an option to using cheap dye while in quarantine? Yes! Madison Reed is top-notch salon-quality color delivered straight to your door at a reasonable price.  You can take an online quiz and speak to customer service to find the perfect shade. You can even set up a subscription service to make sure you never run out! Make 2021 the year your roots are never visible on ZOOM.

Image courtesy of Prose

Prose Hair Care
We’ve all had a hair reset in 2020. Since we rarely left the house our crimpers and blow dryers stayed tucked away. Our hair had time to rest and repair. Keep that going in 2021 with Prose Hair Care. Prose Hair Care is geared preciously toward your hair needs and type. You control everything and get exactly what you want. Take the online quiz or chat with customer service to find out what will give you your best hair.  Stop destroying your mane with $3 shampoos. Pro tip? You’re probably using too much product. No more than a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and a dime of conditioner.

Image courtesy of Ritual

Ritual Vitamins

Something as simple as taking a good multivitamin can really help your health. Ritual has created vitamins with a traceable supply chain to ensure quality and ethical sourcing. Setting up a subscription is easy, so you never have to worry about running out.  Plus, with their published scientific research you’ll know you’re getting top quality ingredients for optimum health.

Image courtesy of Ulla

Ulla

When keeping your New Year’s resolutions one tip is to be additive rather than subtractive. Instead of saying, “I will never drink juice/soda again!” which can make them more attractive try saying, “from now I will drink 1 liter of water every day.” The extra liquid will eliminate your thirst and reduce your cravings, essentially crowding out the bad stuff.

 Ulla is perfect for this. It’s a rubber band that fits around any bottle. If it hasn’t been picked up after 20 minutes, it will start to glow. It’s a simple gentle reminder to keep you meeting your hydration goals.

Image courtesy of Trial and Eater

Daily Harvest

Trying to have a healthier diet in 2021? Instead of banning certain foods one way is to commit to making one vegan meal each day. Daily Harvest is a fast, inexpensive way to get a delicious selection of easy to prepare healthy meals shipped directly to your home. With dozens of options to choose from, you’ll find stuff you love, and they will always be in your freezer ready to consume in minutes. You’ll discover that healthy organic vegan food can be insanely delicious. 

Image courtesy of PR Newswire

Yoga with Adrienne
That’s it. It’s 2021!  You’re committing to health! You’re going to do 2 hours of Physique 57 every day! No, you’re not. You might do it for 3 days but then you’ll give up. When it comes to fitness, you want to start small.

Yoga will Adrienne offers a 30-day plan for you to ease into your fitness goals. Or start even smaller. Download her videos from Youtube for free. If after two weeks you stick to three times a week, maybe consider kicking it up a notch, or just stay at that level. One idea is to pair up with a friend so you can remind the other one to stick to the plan. Keep that up for a month, reward yourself with a new sweater or lipstick.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Practical Meditation for Beginners by Benjamin W. Drecker

Meditation can sound awfully new age to people who simply don’t believe crystals can align your chakras. Some meditation courses charge an astronomical sum of money to teach basic skills. But the truth is meditation isn’t as complicated or difficult as you might think.  It can be simple to get into a routine for just 10 minutes a day. Benjamin W. Drecker’s book can take you through comfortable steps to creating a healthy habit. One big bonus? There are dozens of used copies available, so you can get the book for half price.

—Cameron Grey Rose

2021 Oscar Predictions

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While we all wait for everyone to get vaccinated and for herd immunity to kick in—experts are predicting summer of 2021—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement assuring that there absolutely WILL be an in-person ceremony for the 93rd Oscars on April 25, 2021. How exactly that is going to work, especially since so many of the likely nominees are vulnerable to the virus due to their age, remains to be seen.

The eligibility window for qualifying films has also been extended, from December 31 of this year to February 28, 2021. Also, films also won’t be required to have a theatrical run, which means there’s plenty of time to watch the possible nominees in the safety of your home.  Fashion Reverie has compiled a list of films that might be taking home Oscar statuettes.

Image courtesy of vulture.com

“Nomadland” directed by Chloe Zhao

It’s interesting that this film is based on a non-fiction book that was published in 2017 because it perfectly encapsulates the living tragedy that was 2020. Frances McDormand plays Fern, a woman who has lost everything, travels across the American West in a van seeking work. At one point, a young girl asks, “You’re homeless right?” Fern firmly tells her “I’m not homeless, I’m houseless. Not the same is it?” With Oscar buzz already circling, McDormand could make Oscar history. If she simultaneously receives both a best actress and best picture nomination as a producer of the film, she would be the first woman to do so.

Image courtesy of variety.com

“Minari” directed by Lee Isaac Chung
Comparisons to last year’s best picture “Parasite” are inevitable, but this brilliant film stands on its own. Minari is both a heartbreaking and inspiring tale of a Korean American family attempting to start a farm in Arkansas. A controversy arose when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was deciding which category the film was eligible for—Best Picture or Best Foreign Language film. Many are demanding rules be changed. Don’t be distracted; this gentle film is a feast for the eyes as well as the heart as the film quietly dissects the American Dream.

Image courtesy of variety.com

“Mank” directed by David Fincher
One major failing that seems to dog the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts is its tendency to celebrate films that, well, celebrate filmmaking. “The Artist,” “La La Land,” and “Boogie Nights” are a few examples. Director David Fincher—who also wrote and did the cinematography for the picture under pseudonyms—looks at 1930s Hollywood through the scathing wit of alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish “Citizen Kane.” The film is a passion project as the original script “Mnk” was based on was written by Finchers’ late father, Jack Fincher, in the 1990s. Be warned, “Mank” is WILDLY historically inaccurate and Gary Oldman overacts like it’s about to made illegal. 

Image courtesy of nbcnews.com

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” directed by George C. Wolfe

Based on August Wilson’s 1984 play of the same name, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is a celebration of three real-life Black artists and legends. While critics are divided on how successful the film is, the acclaim for the late Chadwick Boseman is universal. Many are calling his work as a trumpet player Lavee the finest of his remarkable career. We’ll never know if Boseman knew this would be his swan song. Boseman never gave less than one hundred percent to his often-demanding roles. He will almost certainly be awarded a posthumous Oscar for Best Actor.

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“Promising Young Woman” written and directed by Emerald Fenell
Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a young woman who dropped out of medical school due to severe trauma in this candy-colored black comedy revenge thriller for the #Metoo era. If that seems like a lot of adjectives, know this smart film has a lot of tonal shifts which makes sense considering what trauma can do to a brain. Many critics are saying this is a lock to get women nominated for writing and directing awards this year. If the name Emerald Fenell sounds familiar she played Camilla Parker-Bowles on season 4 of “The Crown.”

Courtesy of variety.com

“News of the World” directed by Paul Greengrass
Would it even be an awards season without Tom Hanks’ name being bandied about? Hanks reunites with his “Captain Phillips’” director for a sumptuous tale of an 18th century newsreader. This was a real profession at the time. Newspapers were difficult to acquire and not many people knew how to read. Newsreaders would travel around telling people the “news of the world.” Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) stumbles upon an abandoned child while traveling through Texas and is determined to find a home for the orphan.  From the score to the acting, directing, and cinematography, the entire film is an assembly of titans in the industry at the top of their game.

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“Tenet” directed by Christopher Nolan

While “Tenet” is definitely in the Oscar race, many are saying this might not be the year for Nolan. The film was definitely hurt by being screened at home rather than the original IMAX release that had been planned. The 200-million-dollar spectacular didn’t play so well on the small screen.  Audiences were utterly confused by the densely plotted film. Star Kenneth Branagh even admitted despite starring in the picture he wasn’t entirely sure if he was the villain or not.  Nolan will just have to wait and see.

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“Soul” directed by Peter Docter

Another entry from the always reliable Pixar veteran director Peter Docter, (“Up,” “Inside Out”) “Soul” is a gentle tale of the afterlife. Jazz Musician Joe (Jamie Foxx) had a wonderful day that sadly ends with him falling into an open manhole, going into a coma, and getting trapped between life and death. Despite the dark themes, the film is a brightly colorful tale, full of music and life. So far, no animated film has ever won best picture—only 4 have been nominated—but some are saying this could be Pixar’s year.

Possible Dark Horses

Every year there are a few films that have real potential to jam up the works by being unexpected nominees and winners, And, if there was any year for that to happen it will be this one.

Image courtesy of Time Magazine

“The Invisible Man“ directed by Leigh Whannell 

“The Invisible Man” is one of the only films with some Oscar talk to enjoy an actual theatrical run. While it is incredibly rare for horror films to be nominated, there is a real buzz that Elisabeth Moss’s work in “The Invisible Man” as a woman desperately trying to survive a toxic relationship is strong enough to put her in the race.

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“Let Them All Talk” directed by Steven Soderbergh

Despite starring Meryl Streep, who holds the current world record of twenty-three acting nominations, buzz from this Steven Soderbergh-directed film is around Candice Bergen’s performance as Roberta, a woman who’s painfully dissatisfied with life and determined to take steps to find happiness while cruising with friends. Many critics are saying it’s their favorite performance of the year.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

“The Assistant” directed by Kitty Green
Julia Garner—no relation to Jennifer—already has two Emmys for her scene-stealing work on Netflix’s “Ozark” but may be looking at an Oscar nomination for her role as Jane in Kitty Green’s “The Assistant.”  Jane is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-like producer. (Full disclosure: writer Cameron Grey Rose worked with Harvey Weinstein during her time at The Hollywood Reporter.) The only stumbling block is how closely Harvey Weinstein worked with the Academy (he was stripped of his membership) contributing to a breath-taking 81 wins. This may hit a little too close to home.

—Cameron Rose

Five Most Memorable New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Moments

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

It is not hard to see how the year 2020 was different from any year we have experienced. So, one can expect the New Year’s Eve (NYE)celebration in Times Square, where tourists and a few brave New Yorkers come to celebrate the wildest night of the year to be different in 2020.

 For the first time since its inception in 1907, the city’s famous New Year’s ball will drop in an empty Times Square. You can join a digital party by downloading the free “NYE” app, or sign in to VNYE.com, to see what’s in store. With this app you can take a selfie without being physically present in Times Square! There won’t be lack of celebrities and some great performances including J Lo plan to sing right before midnight. In the meantime, here is a look back at the five out of many memorable NYE Ball Drop moments!!

Image courtesy of usmagazine.com

Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen‘s CNN co-hosting was called an “Awkward Banter” in 2017. This awkwardness made some viewers call out for a return of Kathy Griffin. Wel,l it seems ACx2 worked on their chemistry. Last year was memorable with Anderson Cooper talking, giggling, and making faces after taking a shot of tequila with 50 Cent and his co-host. Well guess who will be back this year?

Image courtesy of pagesix.com

Perhaps the Queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey loses her magic after Christmas? There were lots of technical difficulties during her 2016 performance which left her awkwardly pacing around the stage on Dick Clark’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” Mariah called the experience “horrible” and fired her creative director over it. Mariah was back in 2017 and rocked that stage!

Image courtesy of nymag.com

Whoever claims Mayor Bloomberg has no game should look back to NYE 2011!  Bloomberg and Lady Gaga kissed in 2011 and the world did not come to an end. Even though the moment caused many eyebrows to raise, Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor, said she’s “very charming,” but pointed out “I would be remiss if I didn’t also add to that that she’s best kiss of the night came after Diana,” referring to his longtime girlfriend.

Image courtesy of dailymail.couk

Don Lemon got his ear pierced for NYE. The CNN anchor had an interesting start to 2017 in New Orleans. Instead of toasting like everyone else ( oh wait he did, many times), he ended up getting his ear pierced!

Maybe Don Lemon didn’t feel that great the next morning. Don was screaming the whole time asking the ear piercer to not get blood on his jacket!! Brooke Baldwin held his hand.

Image courtesy of eonlien!.com

Taylor Swift and her boyfriend drama never ends. Taylor and Joe Jonas were awkwardly standing almost next to each other after on New Year’s Eve after a breakup.

It must be horrifying having to stand next to your ex and act like everything’s fine while millions are watching. He reportedly broke up with the “Bad Blood” singer in a 27-second phone call !!

Stay safe everyone! By next NYE thousands of revelers will be back standing in freezing Times Square. Happy New Year 2021!!

Tijana Ibrahimovic

Holiday 2020 Northeast Resort Destinations

Image courtesy of aaa.com

If you are a celebrity you might have a lavish home that you can transform into a winter wonderland, Halloween adventure or a tropical island, just like Kim Kardashian. With this transformational ability, you can keep your kids and family entertained without jetting to a private island getaway. Celebrities of course fly on private jets, but what are the options for the average consumer? How do you take a safe, socially distanced vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic, from road trips to private vacation rentals and remote campsites and feel just like a celebrity? Surprise, surprise, surprise, it is possible!!

From remote hotels near beaches, mountains, lakes, and islands, to private vacation rentals and road trips, Fashion Reverie has curated a few close-to-home vacation ideas to consider during this current health pandemic.  The holiday season is here, and as pandemic fatigue is setting in US travelers are eager to get out of their homes and have a little R&R. However, many states are currently experiencing spikes in COVID-19 infections.

Without a vaccine no place is safe, and it’s impossible to guarantee any safe place other than your home, so remember to practice safety measures: wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. There are quarantine restrictions to consider so we recommend avoiding COVID-19 hot spots.

Image courtesy of winecountry.com

Virginia Wine Country

If there wasn’t COVID-19, we would maybe never find time to explore a USA-based wine county other than in California.  Consider the Virginia wine country.

Most of Virginia’s wine country is in the Shenandoah Valley, Appalachia Virginia, and historic Monticello. There are great bed and breakfasts in these places. All easily accessible by car or airplane—Virginia has four airports. Just remember, masks must be worn indoors and where there is good wine there is good food!!

Image courtesy of newsbreak.com

New York Catskills

The New York Catskills has great skiing, friendly mountain region, lots of cute lodges to rent where you can enjoy fireplaces, guided hikes, and a focus on outdoor and in-room dining. Visit Bear Mountain with some quiet time at the Abbey Inn and Spa in artsy Peekskill, way up on a hill overlooking the Hudson River.

Image courtesy of sferra.com

The Berkshires

The Berkshires in Massachusetts are a little further north, but a perfect place for the holidays if you don’t want to travel too far and don’t want to board a plane. You must have heard about this posh place. Embrace being a tourist at  “Tourists,” a former mid-century motor lodge turned 48-room resort, which recently reopened with strict COVID safety measures. 

Image courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Mount Snow, Vermont

Get a taste of luxury in Vermont near Mount Snow. Treehouse Village Inn, A-frame treehouse is a perfect place to stay and enjoy lakes, waterfalls, and long walk. Sounds like a true retreat to us. Fresh air and gorgeous winter wonderland, who could ask for anything better!!

Image courtesy of afar.com

Long Island’s North Fork

North Fork is a familiar place we go to and vacation during the summertime. That said; how about considering North Fork as a holiday vacation spot?  Enjoy ocean view suites where you can feel just at home with your family. There are great places to rent with private outdoor decks and private beaches.

Image courtesy of masslive.com

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Lots of folks are huge fans of Cape Cod!! We know it more as a summer getaway, but there are still great restaurants and seafood shacks during the holiday season. It’s also a very creative place, very artsy and crafts friendly region.  And in the large town of Hyannis, you can visit the John F. Kennedy Museum. Heads up, you’ll need a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of arriving.

—Tijana Ibrahimovic

Despite COVID-19, American Ballet Theatre Dancers Are Keeping Busy

Image courtesy of wsj.com

a lover of the arts, you are aware that the arts are in a holding period while nations grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. And it seems as we contend with a second round of COVID-19 infections, it appears that stage performances in New York City and other international capitals are postponed or have very limited access until late spring 2021. That’s right no Broadway shoes, music concerts, and as we move to the holiday season, no “Nutcracker.”

That said; international artists are not sitting on their laurels waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine. Principal dancer Misty Copeland earlier in the year launched a relief fund for ballet dancers that were out of work due to COVID-19 pandemic. This GoFundMe campaign, ”Swans for Relief” is raising $500,000 for unemployed dancers. (Contrary to popular belief, ballet dancers do eat food.)

“In these unpredictable times, ballet companies—like many organizations—are fighting to survive,” Copeland and co-founder Joseph Phillips wrote in a joint statement. “Ballet companies are largely dependent on revenue from performances to pay their dancers and fund their operations, but we are now confronting the uncertainty of when we will return to the stage and once again fill performance venues.”

“Art brings people together to provide a beautiful escape, and ballet in particular is a very unifying experience both on and off the stage, filled with history and imagination,” Copeland said in a statement. “Throughout my career, it has been very important for me to bring more attention and awareness to this art form. The theater thrives on people coming together to experience a performance. Because of the coronavirus, the livelihood and careers of dancers are in jeopardy, and this will continue to have massive effects even after we start to re-open our cities.”

Image courtesy of architecturaldigest.com

Misty Copeland is not only ballet dancer keeping busy. (And in case you are not in the know, Misty Copeland 3.1 million-dollar Upper Westside apartment, you missed an elegant treat. During ABT’s layoff, Copeland had time to decorate her apartment, that she purchased in 2018 and have it photographed for Architectural Digest.) American Ballet Theatre soloist Gabe Stone Shayer has partnered with CHANEL to launch “Pas de Deux,” a limited documentary series exploring the intersection of dance and other diverse art forms.

Coco Chanel was big ballet fan, creating costumes for the Ballets Russes’ ballets “La Chatte” and “Le Train Bleu.” And we know that Coco Chanel had an affair with Igor Stravinsky, the composer of the music for the ballet “La Chatte.” In that respect, Coco Chanel was a true collaborator.

Gabe Stone Shayer at the Apollo Theater, courtesy of Gabe Stone Shayer. Alicia Keys by James Bailey.

The limited documentary series “Pas de Deux” are short 15-minute episodes takes viewers into the homes and workspaces of each dancer and collaborator, allowing these diverse creators the opportunity to connect virtually for an exchange of ideas. Pas de Deux is inspired by one of those nights in New York City where you meet interesting people who inspire you,” said Shayer.  “The idea first hit me when thinking about how I could continue to create in quarantine.  I wanted to highlight the innovation that is magnified by an artist feeling stifled.  I’m obsessed with multimedia collaborations and felt this was the moment where we could explore the intersection of art and artists.”

Creative pairings include:

  • ABT Principal Dancer Isabella Boylston with master chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson
  • ABT Principal Dancer Cassandra Trenary with Kat Sullivan, Artist in Residence at RLAB, New York City’s virtual and augmented reality lab
  • ABT Soloist Luciana Paris with visual artist Chloe Wise
  • “Pas de Deux” creator and ABT Soloist Shayer with Grammy Award®-winning singer, songwriter and actor Alicia Keys. Additional dance footage for this episode was directed and filmed by Pierce Jackson.

The first in this series of mini documentaries aired on October 29 on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel and IGTV.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

London Brown: One of the Chosen

Image courtesy of montrealtimes.com

Launching a career in the entertainment industry is a daunting task. No matter what anyone tells you—particularly the celebrity wannabees on Instagram—having that desired career as a performer requires taking a lot of risks with no guarantees of success. Still, it can be done!! (The many are called; few are chosen scripture applies here.)

What may be even more of a challenge is maintaining that success. London Brown has done just that.

The Los Angeles-native started his career as a stand-up comedian, hitting all the major comedy venues—The Comedy Union, The Improv, The Comedy Store, and Gotham Comedy Club. In 2013, London Brown won the Robin Harris Rising Star award, as well as Best International Comedian for 2013 Black Comedy awards in the UK. He has also shared stages with Katt Williams, Tony Rock and Kevin Hart.

That said; London Brown’s career does not start and end with comedy. He doesn’t rest his laurels with folks’ bellyaching laughter. Brown cut his acting chops on the Fuse network’s comedy-drama “Hustle” as the character D, an aspiring hip-hop artist.

London Brown in Ballers.” Image courtesy of thesun.com

Probably Brown’s most memorable role to date is that of the character Reggie in HBO’s “Ballers.” And while “Ballers” really set London Brown on his path to cinematic greatness, Brown had experienced one of biggest losses prior to working on “Ballers.” Brown’s brother Wendell Lee, 25, was killed in the LA neighborhood that London Brown grew up in.

“[2013] was the best year of my life and the worst at the same time. I was living off my art. I was on one of the hottest networks, living in a Hollywood condo, and working in Miami where the weather is great. I’m like, ‘Cool, this shit happens.’ And then that happens, and it was a reminder that the things I do are bigger than just me,” Brown said in an undefeated.com article. “It’s not about me just working and getting a check to live a ritzy lifestyle. I have to make sure I’m working because I try to be some sort of assistance to my family and take the stress off of them.”

Image courtesy of joblo.com

2013 may been a difficult year for London Brown, but he has not been deterred, and he is currently riding strong. Though 2020 has been a down time for lots of performers, that is not the case of London Brown. Brown is currently starring on STARZ’s “Power Book: 3” and the third iteration of “Tales from the Hood:3.” Which comes out on October 6.

“Fashion Reverie Talks” was fortunate to get to interview London Brown about his career, his roles in “Power Book: 3” and “Tales from the Hood: 3.”

—Staff

Sy Smith’s “Perfect Love” Takes You to that Perfect Place

This is a time of deep reflection and acknowledgement of things accomplished and things not yet down. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to reconsider what is important to us and look at the things that really brings us joy and fulfillment.

In this time of reflection, music can take us back to a time that was joyful, peaceful, and loving. Particularly music that speaks to the heart, music that arouses in us that need to connect, that need to share, that need to love. Sy Smith’s music does just that!!

Known as the Queen of Underground, Sy Smith always infuses her music with lyrics that speak to the best in all of us, that love that passes all understanding, that love supreme. And with her new song, “Perfect Love,” in collaboration with Rachel Eckroth, Sy Smith speaks about a “Perfect Love,” a love that takes you to a place of euphoric peace and contentment.

Fashion Reverie was granted the privilege to speak to Sy Smith about her life, her endeavors, and her “Perfect Love.”

Fashion Reverie: What is your musical background?

Sy Smith: I started playing piano as a kid. And then I did the chorus thing, county and state choruses. After I finished high school, my mom let me play keyboards for an all-girl, go-go band. While I was at Howard University, I joined an acapella group called In Time.

I was exploring lots of musical genres and expressions. And it wasn’t until I came to Los Angeles and started singing background for whole lot of top musical artists did I begin to discover what my musical path would be.

FR: Who are your musical influences?

Sy Smith: Easily Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and for people who know my music, you can hear a lot of brass instrumental influences. Growing up I loved bands that had a strong horn section—Cameo, Earth, Wind and Fire. I was also influenced by Patrice Rushen.

FR: How would you describe your musical style?

Sy Smith: My musical style is all those things that kind of make up black music. Lyrically, I am a person who loves language and vernacular. If someone sits down and listens to my lyrics, you can tell that I am a writer at heart. And that might mean that my music is influenced by Toni Morrison or Octavia Butler, and any of the writers that I love.

FR: When I listen to your sound it is a fusion of many things, a musical hybrid. For me, your sound is reminiscent of Minnie Riperton.

Sy Smith: You are right, my musical style does harken back to some of the female singers of the late 1960s and early 70s that fused their music with a lot of different influences. I do try to remain true to myself because I also have a story to tell.

FR: Sy Smith, you have been described as the “Queen of Underground Soul. How did you acquire that moniker?

Sy Smith: About twelve years ago at a conference someone use that name to describe me. The person was referring to the fact that at the time I was one of the few musical artists that was doing everything myself—booking my own gigs, running my own label—and doing everything well. I was making a solid living from my music and didn’t need to have a day job.

Folks were kind of shocked that I could create underground music, make a living from it without a machine behind me. I was landing my videos on “BET Soul” without having a major financial backer. So, when I was called the “Queen of Underground Soul,” I felt like I could answer to that.

FR: How were you able to accomplish all the things that you’ve accomplished without major financial backing?

Sy Smith: A lot of times it’s about learning how to do a lot of things by yourself. I had to learn how to do graphic design and run my website 15 years ago when I didn’t have anyone or could afford anyone do those things for me. That said; I did have  people in my life that showed me how to do things.  I had to rely on my friends and use the resources around me.

FR: What was the genesis of “Perfect Love”?

Sy Smith: My friend Rachel Eckroth is a keyboarder and producer. We used to tour together. A few years back on the road she asked me to help her finish a song that she was writing. Things happened in both of our lives and we never got around to completing the writing of the song. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were in quarantine, so we went back to completing the song because there was really nothing else going on.

Anyway, I finished writing the lyrics at home and I recorded the vocals, thinking I was just completing a demo for Rachel. Rachel liked what I had done so much that she felt we should release the song. The next thing I knew, Rachel has the song remixed and mastered. So, we put the song out.

We released the song and then we decided to do a video. Rachel came up with the video concept, and I shot the video at home with my husband. Later Rachel found an animator. So, “Perfect Love” was basically art made during a time of quarantine.

FR: Why the title “Perfect Love”?

Sy Smith: The title came from the hook in the song. Rachel had penned that already, and I felt it was a great title. We could have chosen another title, but I felt “Perfect Love” is what the song is about.  It is about feeling that sensation that puts you in a perfect place, finding that love utopia in your heart.

Rachel Eckroth and Sy Smith

FR: How are you keeping busy during this COVID-19 pandemic with touring on hold?

Sy Smith: In this things-on-hold-time I am doing a lot of recording sessions at home. My husband and I have been recording old school variety shows.  We do them live on Facebook.

FR: You mean singing, dancing, acting, juggling?

Sy Smith: Yes. My husband is a classically trained musician and he sings a little bit. We have a couple of skits that we do, some pre-recorded skits that we will put in the show. My husband is also a filmmaker, so this fits right up his alley.  He is turning these Facebook variety shows into elaborate short films.

FR: Do you expect touring to pick up any time soon?

Sy Smith: Right now, I am speaking to you from the sound check at my show in Charlotte, NC. I have a three-night stint. They had done everything they can do to social distance the customers, reducing capacity drastically, and checking everyone’s temperature.

I have also been doing livestreams where people by tickets for those events. This is done from my house, using a platform called ‘Stages.’ That said; I don’t think we are going to see regular touring resume any time soon or until 2021.

 

 

FR: This is a fashion site, so I must ask you who are your favorite designers?

Sy Smith: Everyone who knows me knows I have a deep love relationship with Gucci. I really like the brand Hanifa and I what she is doing. I love the whole3-D virtual model thing that she is doing. Normally, I go into small boutiques and see what catches my eye.

FR: If you had a wish and could musically collaborate with someone dead or alive who would that be and why?

Sy Smith: I would to collaborate with Prince, particularly the last part of his career where he was getting back into some conscious writing where he was standing up for black people, especially black women.

I would love to get down with Quincy Jones, Greg Phillinganes, and Sting.

Images courtesy of 2R’s Entertainment & Media PR

FR: What’s next for you?

 Sy Smith: I haven’t been able to think about what is next because the COVID-19  pandemic forces you to live in the moment. There is no worry about the future right now. For so many artists right now the immediate is all about how the rent and other living expense are going to be met. My plans for recording in album have been put on the back burner.

I will say this, I have a meeting with an acting agent, so, I may get back into that. When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I did a lot of commercials and was on “Ally McBeal” a few times. All these skits that we are doing live on Facebook has stimulated the acting bug. Despite the pandemic, I am keeping busy and pursuing life and love!!

—William S. Gooch

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