Monday, September 21, 2015

Where To Be Merry: A Press & VIP Screening of Rosewood @ Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14

Last Wednesday, Sept. 16, I attended a VIP & Press Screening of Rosewood, a new Fox show that debuts this Wednesday, Sept. 23, right before the season two opener of Empire. The screening took place at downtown’s Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14 complex, right across from the LA Live entertainment center. 

After guests received their complimentary bright blue Rosewood-branded sunglasses and free small sodas and popcorn, the night kicked off with a warm introduction from a Fox representative and a few words from the editor of Rolling Out magazine.

Eventually, the lights dimmed and the screening commenced. Up first were brief, behind-the-scenes looks of three Fox shows. The first two debut this Fall: Scream Queens, with Niecy Nash (who makes an appearance in a throwback #WilsonsGuide post), and Minority Report, starring Meagan Goodman and Wilmer Valderrama. The last preview was of Fox’s wildly successful Empire.

Then, it was time for the star of the night: the first episode of Rosewood.

The opening scene shows a shirtless Morris Chestnut, in all of his glory of rippling abs and bulging muscles, running down an oceanfront street in Miami.

Chestnut is Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., a private pathology consultant, displaying a remarkable, almost unbelievable aptitude at examining corpses to determine their true cause of death. He uses the latest technologies and a team of his sister and her fiancé to find clues on the dead bodies that many coroners would never see. He often lends his expertise to the Miami Police Department, whether its members want his help or not.

This first episode finds Rosewood assisting one of Miami PD’s most recent additions to the team, Detective Annalise Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz). Villa is a no frills, aggressive cop who knows how to kick, punch and get a grown man forcibly on his knees and in a chokehold, to get the information she needs. Together, upon the request of Rosewood’s mother, Donna (Lorraine Toussaint), the duo search to find out who murdered Donna’s beloved student (I won’t tell you if they catch the killer or not; no spoiler alerts here). While undoubtedly featuring a good dose of suspense and mystery, the episode was very high-spirited, with plenty of comedic shots and playful back-and-forth banter.

In all honesty, I wasn’t moved by this first episode. Solely focusing on story or character development, there wasn’t really anything new or original to make it stand out from any other show, and there was nothing sensationally attention-grabbing.

However, I will say that I appreciate the series’ lightheartedness, its strong emphasis on family ties and the beautiful, colorful backdrop of Miami. Plus, Chestnut’s portrayal of Rosewood is beyond commendable. To see a dashingly handsome, exceptionally smart African-American man demonstrate that it’s “cool” to be intelligent, use complex medical terminology that the average person doesn’t understand and have success in a career that’s not sports or music related, is pretty phenomenal. I hope this means we can expect even more African-American actors to continue to have access to diverse, leading roles.

With my two cents now thrown in, I’ll close by saying that I’m definitely curious to see how this new series will fare. Does Rosewood have what it takes to become the next big hit like Empire or to have the longevity of a series like the Law & Order franchise? Only time will tell.

Do you plan to tune in and catch Rosewood?

See you at the next Hollywood screening soon!

For more information:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wilson’s Words of Wisdom: Follow #WilsonsGuide on BlogLovin’

I’m really not one to self-promote, save for a shameless plug every blue moon.

However, I’m making an exception this one time.

Here’s why: Recently, I discovered a really cool website called Blog Lovin, that enables you to consolidate all of the blogs you love into one portal. When you create your own free account, you can  "follow" blogs you read regularly, get their latest posts in one location, share your fave posts on various social media sites and save posts for your future reading pleasure as well.

Check out Blog Lovin here and don’t forget to follow this lovely #WilsonsGuide blog on there as well.

Also, since we’re at it, feel free to follow @WilsonsGuide on any of the following fine and dandy social media platforms:

See around the world wide web soon!

For more information: 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Where To Be Merry: Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Present The Eephus Tour, Powered by Toyota @ The Fonda Theatre

On Friday, Aug. 21, Janelle Monáe and her Wondaland label crew held a free performance at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood as part of their seven-city EEPHUS Tour.

The event was super secret, where even an RSVP didn’t guarantee entry (I received an email that said my RSVP couldn’t be accommodated; fortunately and thankfully, I got a last-minute hook-up).

Doors were slated to open at 7 p.m., but actually opened at 7:15 p.m. Eager fans, many who had queued outside of the venue since earlier that afternoon, patiently filed inside, flocking to the front of the stage. About an hour later, a DJ started to raise the energy level, by spinning a smooth blend of the newest R&B, hip-hop and rap hits — like Fetty Wap's "Come My Way" and Drake's "Hotline Bling" — while also throwing in a few classic old school tracks for good measure.

At 9 p.m., Roman GianArthur commenced the show, playing to an ecstatically cheering crowd, as clouds of paper confetti burst into the air.

For the next two hours or so, different Wondaland artists — St. Beauty, Deep Cotton, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur and the Electric Lady herself, Janelle Monáe — graced the stage, sometimes alone, and many times together. Blackish’s adorable Miles Brown (Jack Johnson) made an appearance, wearing a dapper dark grey vest & slack combo with a black collared shirt, effortlessly showing off his impressive dance moves.

The Wondaland crew played all of the songs off their newest EP, Wondaland Presents: The Eephus, released Friday, Aug. 14. Janelle Monáe and Jidenna (pictured below) performed the EP’s most recent singles, “Yoga” and “Classic Man.” Each artist also delved into their own catalog, performing about two to three additional songs. Janelle Monáe sang the cult classic “Tightrope” and her namesake, “Electric Lady.”

Every Wondaland member brought his or her own flavor during the night. Deep Cotton delved deeply into rock'n'roll with their music and also with their stage antics, literally rolling and somersaulting across the stage. Jidenna proved he wasn’t only a classic man, but a classic man who could dance. Gian RomanArthur (pictured below) revealed his skills on the guitar, flowing from funk to blues and everything in between. At one point, he even made a wardrobe change, switching from a bright red leather jacket to a rugged American flag draped across his neck and bare chest. The St. Beauty duo revealed their melodic voices and hypnotizing songs, with a soft and feminine yet compelling stage presence.

But probably the most riveting moment was when the entire Wondaland team united onstage for the finale, to sing their latest song, “Hell You Talmabout.” It’s a gripping, sobering song that shouts out the names of African-Americans who have died in the hands of police brutality. Fists — from the artists onstage to the audience members in the balcony and floor section — were raised resiliently in the air. The Wondaland team has been singing the song during appearances throughout the U.S., including on the TODAY show and at a protest against police violence in Hollywood, earlier that Friday afternoon.

I applaud and happily and vocally support artists who don’t only make amazing art, but who are also using their positions of power as leaders to attempt to bring about positive social change. The Wondaland team has proven they are doing this, with their incredible EP filled with catchy tunes, an amazing show (for free!) and their involvement with important current issues.

Purchase The Eephus and I’ll see you at the next Wondaland concert!

For more information:
On Spotify, On iTunes