Entries from July 2006 ↓

And the award goes toÖ

Itís that time of year again. Time for the 2006 Black Weblog Awards, the second annual recognition of achievement and excellence by and for Black Internet users who have their own weblogs, or ďblogsĒ as they are more commonly known.

There are new rules and new procedures for nominating and voting for your favorite blogs this year, designed to make it a fairer process, as well as a list of new and interesting categories.

The nomination phase runs from August 1 Ė 15, followed by the voting from August 16 – 31, from the three top nominees in each category. Winners will be announced on September 3.

Talkiní Baseball

This weekend, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York will hold the induction ceremony for the class of 2006 hall of fame honorees, including 17 former players and officials from the Negro Leagues. We first reported on this back in February because of a personal involvement in the story.

Todayís New York Times sheds further light on the history of Blacks in baseball prior to Jackie Robinson breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947.

Before the summer is out it may be time to make a trip up there.

Tapping My Inner Outdoorsman

Iíve got a secret I havenít shared with very many people. Itís nothing to be ashamed of, I guess. Itís part of who I am. Itís just that when I try to talk about it, I get strange looks from people who canít understand how I could possibly be one of them. But silence = death and I can be silent no more. Itís time to come out of the closet.

Iím a frustrated outdoorsman. Even though I havenít had a chance to do much of it in recent years, Iím into camping, fishing, and I have a burning desire to try hunting. I have been skydiving and donít rule out other outdoor activities either. There, Iíve said it.

I love peace and quiet, the serenity of being surrounded by trees, smelling fresh air and feeling dirt under my feet. When you live in the most urban of urban jungles, New York, getting in touch with nature means sunning yourself in Central Park. Honey, that ainít nature.

No, Iím talking about going somewhere where your cellphone wonít get a signal. Where there arenít one hundred thousand other people with the same idea. Some place where all you hear are the sounds of birds and insects, and at night the only light comes from the moon, if the sky is clear.

Iím an upstate New Yorker by birth, and even though I grew up in a small city, we were close enough to wilderness to go camping in the summer as kids. Dad took us fishing in lakes and streams and when I got older, we also went deep-sea fishing for blues off Long Island Sound. That was some of the most fun Iíve ever had.

From time to time Iíve asked my brothers if they were interested in going fishing and maybe getting their kids involved, you know, kinda trying to pass along the experiences we had with our Dad. But to date nothing has ever happened.

Something Keith wrote a few weeks ago rekindled my thinking on this topic. In high school, I was on the football and track teams and while I wonít pretend I was a great athlete, playing sports had me in the best physical condition of my life. I now get to the gym several times a week and while Iím in great shape for my age, frankly Iím bored by the workouts. In high school just the regular routine of practice and competition kept me in shape. It was a workout for a specific purpose. What I need, and want now, is a focus to my physical activities.

New York City offers a lot of diversions, but theyíre all ďcityĒ things; theatre, restaurants, museums, shopping, etc. All things I enjoy, but Iím also drawn to less common activities and unafraid to be the odd man out. Growing up, I was the lone Black kid who knew anything about ice hockey.

Now I find myself fascinated by ESPN Outdoors and the hunting shows on OLN. Iím on the mailing lists for several catalogs. I read Field and Stream and get emails from bike manufacturers. While some people dream of exotic trips to Paris or the next Black Pride event, my fantasy vacation involves bowhunting for whitetail or sitting in a marsh awaiting a flock of southern migrating geese or maybe getting a backpack and a bike and traveling across country.

But any time you come out, youíre left wondering if youíre all alone, and this is no exception. Iíve been told my whole life Black people arenít supposed to do such and such (usually by other Black people), and certainly Black gay men donít do physical or athletic things (not unless weíre dancing or naked). Thinking outside boxes of our own creation is scary for some. Thus finding community around my interests remains a challenge.

August in July

The late playwright August Wilson will receive a special tribute this Sunday at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Actors Charles S. Dutton and S. Epatha Merkerson will perform scenes from various Wilson works.

The O’Neill has established the August Wilson Endowed Fellowship, which will secure the participation of a playwright of color in each year of their annual National Playwrights and Musical Theatre Conference.

Wilson died last year at age 60.

Dutton is a two-time Tony Award nominee for the original productions of Wilson’s Ma Raineyís Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson. He also starred in the 2003 revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom opposite Whoopi Goldberg. His film and TV credits include Roc, The L Word, and Threshold.

Merkerson starred on Broadway in Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. Her other New York stage credits include Tintypes, F…ing A, and Birdie Blue. She won an Emmy Award, among many other honors, for her performance in HBO’s Lackawanna Blues. In addition, Merkerson has spent the past 13 years as Lt. Anita Van Buren on Law & Order.

Then on July 31, the Signature Theatre Company will begin previews for Seven Guitars, one of three consecutive Wilson plays to be staged in this, their 15th Anniversary season.

Seven Guitars will be directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and stars Kevin Carroll, Cassandra Freeman, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Brenda Pressley, Lance Reddick, Roslyn Ruff, and Charles Weldon.

In November, Signature Theatre will stage Two Trains Running, then King Hedley II in February. Casts have not yet been announced.

Line Readings

Karsh needs your help to win a vacation at his bossís expense.

These crazies must be stopped or the world is doomed.

Disney is restructuring to go back to what it does best, supposedly.

Ward Sutton asks, ďWhoís Your Favorite Shoulda-been?Ē

Keith marks the one year anniversary of a sad day in history and the beginning of a new movement.

In case you hadnít heard, J visits NYC this week.

The Harlem Book Fair is just days away.

If he can take his foot out of his mouth long enough, the Idiot in Chief will address the NAACP.

Many athletes at the Gay Games in Chicago face more than tough competition.

Weíre about one week away from my favorite time of the year.