Archive for Special Interest
Like the heroines of her novels, Leslie Esdaile Banks pulled off the impossible.
No she didn’t hunt down vampires, find Prince Charming, or solve the murder. She did something MUCH harder – she successfully lived the writer’s life.
She used her magical gift for storytelling to transform the mundane details of life into gripping epics, whether the tale was a romance, crime thriller, supernatural odyssey, or family drama.
The result was an opus of more than 40 novels and 12 novellas that landed Esdaile among the rarefied ranks of authors on the New York Times and USA Today best-selling lists. Her work also earned her the
- 2009 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Fiction
- 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award
- 2008 Best 50 Women in Business Award for the State of Pennsylvania
Prior to the debut of HBO’s wildly popular True Blood series, the prestigious cable powerhouse featured her on its Vampire Literature and Legends special.
Her publishers have included St. Martin’s Press, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, BET/Arabesque, Dark Horse Press, Genesis Press, Parker Publishing, Harper and Tor.
Leslie’s imagination knew no boundaries. As a writer of multiple genres, Leslie wrote fiction under several pen names. She penned her first novel, a romance titled Sundance, in 1996 under the name of Leslie Esdaile. As Leslie E. Banks she wrote two novelizations of the TV series Soul Food. As Leslie Esdaile Banks, she wrote a four-novel crime series featuring financial genius Laura Caldwell for Kensington/Dafina Press.
She perhaps made her biggest splash with her paranormal narratives published under the name of L.A. Banks. Her 12-novel vampire huntress series, The Vampire Huntress Legends ( first novel, Minion ), gave the darkness a new flavor and continued on in a multi-issue graphic novel series called Hidden Darkness. She published a six-novel werewolf series, A Crimson Moon ( first novel, Bad Blood ), which she wrote under the name of L.A. Banks.
Leslie had also ventured into the best selling young adult market this year with her Neteru Academy series ( first novel, Shadow Walker ). She has also written non-fiction, including an autobiographical contribution to the inspirational anthology Chicken Soup for the African American Soul. Through Red Rose Publishing Leslie’s work is available in ebook format.
Leslie’s own story began on Dec. 11, 1959 in Philadelphia, PA, where she was born. She earned a business degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking degree from Temple University. Her fierce spirit as a single mother wrestling with the issues of health insurance for herself and her daughter brought her to the attention of the White House. As a result of her passionately written letter supporting the President’s efforts to reform the nation’s health insurance system, she was tapped to introduce President Barack Obama during a 2010 speech at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA.
Although her journey in THIS realm ended on Aug. 2, 2011, it’s comforting to know that she’s only just taken her first step as one of the immortals.
Born Dwayne Glenn McDuffie in 1962 and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan, his education began at the Roeper School. McDuffie chose the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies from which he received a bachelor’s degree in English. Eventually, he went on to receive a Master’s in Physics. Continuing his schooling and creative interests, McDuffie studied film at New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts. He became a radio co-host while simultaneously moonlighting as a freelance writer for stand-up comedians. Some of his scripts made it to late-night television comedy programs.
After an early job as a copy editor at Investment Dealer’s Digest, a business magazine, McDuffie landed a position at Marvel Comics in 1987 as an assistant editor. While working for Marvel, McDuffie helped to create Marvel’s first trading cards and eventually the mini-series entitled Damage Control. McDuffie then went on to write stories for various titles like: Spider-Man, Deathlok II, Captain Marvel, Avengers Spotlight, Hellraiser, X-O Manowar, and others. McDuffie also submitted a spoof proposal for something he called “Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers.” It was said that this was McDuffie’s response to Marvel’s portrayal and treatment of Black comic book characters. McDuffie tried his hand at writing for other comic book companies as a freelancer: DC Comics, Archie Comics and Harvey Comics.
It was in 1993 that McDuffie’s interest in changing the portrayal of Black heroes and multicultural characters began to take shape. He along with partners Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle created Milestone Media, Inc., which was published through DC Comics. Popular Milestone characters included: Icon, Static, Hardware, Xombi, Shadow Cabinet, Blood Syndicate, and Kobalt. Milestone would become the foremost comic book company which created quality African-American and ethnic heroes. Static, a character McDuffie co-created became a popular animated series on the Kids WB! McDuffie not only wrote for that program, he also went on to write for other television shows including: Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the Cartoon Network animated series, What’s New Scooby Doo?, the Teen Titans, Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. McDuffie penned the script for the DC animated feature film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and All-Star Superman for Warner Home Video.
McDuffie is the recipient of a Writer’s Guild Award, a 2003 Humanities Prize, two Emmy Nominations, eleven Parents’ Choice Awards, three Eisner Awards, a Golden Apple Award and a Glyph Comics Award. He was an example not only to comic book loyalists and science fiction fans, but also to comic book creators, professionals, artists and writers of what the combination of purpose, talent and hard work can produce. His work was and is revered as having a standard of quality, in which excellence of craft and an unmistakable flavor that was just “Dwayne” came together for our benefit. He was able to take the reader and the audience on rides that were new, wild and adventurous yet authentic, real and respectful. He represented the best in quality and professionalism. He entertained us all and will continue to do so for many, many years to come. The examples on this page are only a sampling of the works of Dwayne McDuffie. He was a creator, an author, a shaper and producer of ideas, and most of all a creative mind, a brilliant and humble soul. His work was his gift to us. Our memory and reverence of his efforts are our gift to him. We urge that you collect, hold dear, rediscover, value and reintroduce yourselves to the works of Mr. Dwayne G. McDuffie. And, after you come down from the ride, simply say: “Thank you, Dwayne!”
ECBACC, Inc. Celebrates the Legacy of
EARTHA KITT (January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was an international star who gave new meaning to the word versatile. She distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. Miss Kitt was one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), a Grammy (twice), and an Emmy Award (twice). She regularly enthralled New York nightclub audiences during her extended stays at The Café Carlyle. Ms. Kitt’s memorable portrayals as the most feloniously feline “Catwoman” on the 1968 “Batman” television series are indelibly etched in our minds!
Eartha Kitt as Catwoman in the Batman tv series
The Evil Yzma – Voiced by Eartha Kitt
in the Disney Animated Feature and tv series The Emperor’s New Groove
The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, Incorporated (ECBACC, Inc.) honors one of its annual vendors and avid supporters: Elder Yahya Abdul Karim who passed away on Thursday, 12/18/08. Elder Karim was a veteran educator and publisher with over 30 years’ experience. With the exception of one event, Elder Karim attended each Annual Convention on the behalf of the Ida B. Wells – Marcus Garvey Bookstore located on the 2200 block of N. Broad St. in Philadelphia, PA.
Come be a part of our second year of bringing the world of comics to even more old and NEW fans in the New York area. Once again we’ll be joined by industry professionals and organizations, such as …
- Indy and main stream Comic Artists dazzling young eyes with their skills
- Workshops in Creating Comics, as well as The World of Comics and Education!
- Guest speakers and Panelists
- Retailers hawking comics for children and young adults
- Cartoons and Anime Corner where patrons can watch some of their favorite shows
And much, much more!!!
|When:||Saturday, March 29, 2008|
|Where:||Bronx Community College Campus
West 181st. Street & University Ave. Bronx, NY 10453
|Time:||10 AM to 6 PM|
Thu, 05/10/2007 – 22:48
L A S T D R A G O N
R E L E A S E S F I R S T
D V D O N F I T N E S S
I recently was able to catch up with cult action hero Taimak Guarriello. His fame as Bruce Leroy in Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon (1985) is being introduced to a whole new generation thanks to references in hip-hop and airings on channels with programming specifically for Black and action cinema. Younger audiences are now learning how to achieve “The Glow”.
Still in the final preparation for the release of his new DVD on fitness, the martial artist, personal trainer, fight choreographer and actor took a break to discuss his career.
Honorable: Tell us about your new DVD.
Taimak: It was shot at Fitness Concepts where I also work with my clients in physical training. We’ve worked with Robert Dinero, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Li’l Kim and others. The DVD to be released this spring will have some one on one techniques, how to run, how to stretch. A lot of novice to intermediate level questions will be answered even if you already know things. But this one is for beginners to intermediate.
H: I saw you recently making an appearance at a comic convention in New York. Were you a comic book reader?
T: I did have a big box. I read mostly Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Richie Rich, Archie.
H: OK. Let’s go back to high school. You were training hard what were your days like?
T: Well I was captain of the fencing team, wrestling at 167lbs. (presently 175lbs. and 5’11”) and kick boxing waaay out in Queens while living in Manhattan. I worked with my father. At age 17, I bounced at Studio 54.
T: (Laughs) Yeah a minor bouncing around 5000 people at Studio 54, Steve Rabel…I have older brothers who were into boxing. Three older brothers and two younger brothers.
H: How did you get into the competition to become the New York State Kickboxing Champion at age 18?
T: I was training with Ron Van Cleef, full contact. I was in semi-contact karate and got into full contact. Most people enter the competition in their mid 20’s.
H: From there you were offered the Last Dragon role and became an action hero. What’s it like being a cult classic.
T: For me it gives me an opportunity to still contribute through entertainment. You are still of people’s interest 22 years later. Feels good to be able to contribute and entertain.
H: Name 5 of your favorite martial arts films.
T: Oh that’s hard. In no order: Enter The Dragon, Wu Tang Vs. Shaolin, Master Killer, The Five Deadly Venoms, Mad Monkey Kung Fu, Seventh Samarai….
H: Name some inspirations?
T: Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Bruce Lee, Mahatma Ghandi…
H: Are you sensitive?
T: Yes I think so but I have it in perspective. My sensitivity is my strength. People can be stubborn by nature. If you tell someone to look at something they might get defensive. This is how you are interpreting your environment.
H: You seem to be a very humble person in light of the cult status. How do you maintain?
T: Some may think I am not (laughs). For me it’s just being in touch with reality. Any moment it could be gone. It about respect and gratitude, nothing more nothing less.
H: Speaking of maintaining, you look remarkably well kept. Care to share some secrets?
T: Dieting, eating well. Exercise, my martial arts training and keeping stress free. In order to achieve that you create a circle of people and you believe that anything is possible. Anything. The exercise has to be specific to your body. You’ve got to know your body. How does one get to know one’s body? You just ask. Your body tells you.
H: Back to this diet. What are an average day’s meals?
T: Eggs with spinach, tomato and cheddar, whole grain bagel with apple butter. Later I’ll have a protein drink, tofu with cream cheese and a big salad. For dinner I might have eggplant parmesan with spaghetti.
H: I’ll be starting my diet tomorrow. I hope my body likes it.
T: I only eat fish as far as meat. Three good meals a day but I try to eat more or I’ll lose weight. I also love Indian food.
H: You’ve worked with some gorgeous ladies, who was your favorite female co-star?
T: I am split between Janet Jackson and Vanity.
H: Of course who wouldn’t be. I understand that you make an appearance in the Harlequin’s Song comic book. What was that about?
T: I played a villain named Kayin West. It’s a non-superhero story set in NYC 2017. We shot a lot of photos in the streets or wherever. Then all the photos are posterized for the published book.
H: Alright, next up Taimak the Pro Wrestler or shall I say “Striking Eagle”…
T: That was an experiment with Jimmy Yang and the Ring of Honor. I liked it but it wasn’t something I could put all my energy into.
H: You have a good sense of humor. Do you like comedy?
T: Yeah I did a comedic rendition of Road House. I played the Patrick Swayze role. I usually play the straight man with the comedy happening around me.
H: So you’ve done Road House and you were in another play recently. Do you like theatre?
T: Yeah I finished the play Cheaters last spring. It was based on Eric Jerome Dickey’s novel and produced by I’m Ready Productions. I shared a role with Michael Jai White. It was funny, people loved it. I’ve also done drama and studied Shakespeare. I would love to do Othello. The best part about doing theatre is the connection to the live audience. Being able to feel and the improv.
H: You co-starred in Cheaters with some singers including Brian McKnight. Did your role call for any singing?
T: No (laughs). That would have been funny. I sing in the shower. I would like to do voice-overs though.
Thu, 05/10/2007 – 06:31
Submitted by HONORABLE REE
PATRICE HOLLOWAY 1951- 2006
Josie and the Pussycats l to r Cathy Dougher, Cheryl Ladd and Patrice Holloway
Patrice Yvonne Holloway (March 23, 1951-October 1, 2006) was remembered by some as just the sister of Motown solo recording artist Brenda Holloway, but Patrice’s personal titles and accolades include: singer, composer, writer, vocal arranger, instrumentalist as well as child prodigy. To the Black youth who grew up in the 1970’s she was much more, whether we knew it or not.Patrice was of Black and Hispanic heritage and was born in Los Angeles, Ca. She, her older sister and brother Wade, were raised in Watts. Patrice grew up with musicians in her family and by her teens could play the drums, guitar, cello, autoharp and violin. The instrument that took her to fame though, was her church seasoned voice.Patrice and Brenda sang and wrote music together since childhood and were a part of many groups both gospel and secular over their careers. They both sang solo and background on numerous certified hit records. When you hired one of the Holloway sisters, as a session singer you got some of the best talent available. You also received musical geniuses that could read and re-read a song and go back and fill in any and all gaps in the vocal arrangement. The Holloway sisters brought the stuff that wasn’t written. The extra touches that could only be felt while in the moment.
That’s what one feels from Patrice’s vocals whether lead or background on the Capitol Records 1970 Josie and The Pussycats album. Patrice’s ‘Valerie Brown’ brought soul to Saturday mornings and made history as the first Black female animated cartoon character when Josie and The Pussycats premiered September 12, 1970 on CBS’s Saturday line-up. Being a kid in the `70s meant certain annual excitement on that second weekend of September. Now I could go into a spiel about “oh I had an older sister and we only had one black and white television blah blah blah…” but the truth of the matter is: I loved watching Josie and the Pussycats. Did I love it because of the pretty girls? Did I love it because it was one of the many Scooby Doo-esque mystery shows that were all the rage? No. I loved the show because of the chase scenes where the Pussycats got to sing.At that time I didn’t know much about a Black or a White world so I wasn’t exactly raising my fist in the air over Valerie Brown’s inclusion in the show as an Afro-American character. I guess my being of the immediate post-Civil Rights generation meant I should expect positive Black characters on television, after all, we could now sit anywhere on the bus we wanted.
Well that was the `70s and this is the new millennium and we’re still expecting quality representation in the media.I did however notice that it was Valerie that was the smartest on the show. For that matter Valerie was smarter than a lot of people on television. I put all that first African-American animated character stuff together later as I grew up.
To set aside controversy she can safely be called the first African-American FEMALE whereas The Harlem Globtrotters, Fat Albert and Black Manta are all very close in the race. Between 1965 and 1970 several Black characters made their debut but given that list of choices I’m riding with the hot, smart chick that could build a villain-catcher out of a handful of bobby pins, a kitchen sink and some chewing gum.
The entire essence of the Valerie character was positive but the music was most powerful. Even as a child I recognized good music having grown up on a healthy diet of Gospel and Motown. I had not yet made the connection between the Pussycats and Motown, but I knew there was something there. It was unmistakable. Be it those memorable instrumental intros or the controlled phrasing and gutsy delivery of the lead singer, something was familiar here and in a good way. A very good way.
Patrice sang with a depth, sincerity, and purity from the soul that connected far beyond bubblegum puppy love. As in the gospel, Patrice made a joyful noise. There were songs where she was angry or foolish or resolved and Patrice brought the appropriate emotion and adlib in each case. She was as a wild tigress instead of a Pussycat on You’ve Come Along Way Baby. And no one else could have demanded so, as Patrice did in Stop! Take A Look Around You. Her tremendous range was felt even when she did sing “bubblegum” songs such as her first single released at age 12, Do The Dell Viking which she wrote herself. That was one difference between Patrice, Brenda and most of the other women at Motown. The Holloway sisters could sing and write even though they received very little attention while signed with Motown. Together they went on to write the Blood Sweat and Tears hit You Have Made Me So Very Happy. The sisters can also be heard in the background for the theme to the Wonder Years: With A Little Help From My Friends sung by Joe Cocker.
It’s astonishing to think the Pussycats nearly lost not only Patrice, but also the cool ass friends in the band that she brought along. When Patrice came to class she brought treats for everyone. By many accounts she was cheerful, hardworking, and possessing of excellent timing, both musical and comedic. Her numerous friends in the industry learned that she had won the role of Valerie and out of support for her venture volunteered their talent to the project at a lesser than normal rate of pay. Once assembled, the band was serious. The music though meant to be bubblegum, was well written and could pass for true R&B. The writers on the album included: Austin Roberts, Sue Steward (now known as Sue Sheridan) and Bobby Hart. In the songs you could hear each instrument’s contribution through some form of solo throughout each piece. I personally remember that haunting flute on Stop! Take A Look Around You. That was real music. Of the session players that came to the project happy to work with Patrice, Wilton Felder played flute, Clarence McDonald played keyboard and the ace drummer was Hal Blaine. This was the knid of theme music that stuck with you. I felt the same way about many themes in the `70’s including Donny Hathaway’s And Then There’s Maude and Janet DuBois on Movin On Up. All having such strong music for light hearted comedies. It was as though good soul music was used to sell these shows.
Perhaps that was one of the problems Hanna- Barbera had with Patrice’s selection as Valerie. Maybe they wanted a bubblegum pity pat group and Patrice brought too much Aretha Franklin. Patrice, Future Charlie’s Angel, Cheryl Ladd (Melody) and Kathy Dougher (Josie) beat out a total of 500 other girls (American Idol style) to earn their spots in the trio and were a perfect blend. The plan was to jump onboard that traveling band, Monkees/ Partridge Family action-musical gravy train that was feeding so many at that time but in the vein of Scooby Doo.
Patrice was almost cut from the project because Hanna-Barbera decided they weren’t ready to see Blacks on television. Our beloved William Hanna and Joseph Barbera wanted an all white group for the animated television series and thus all white voices and an all white sound. They even changed the character Valerie into a white girl and sought to fire Patrice after she’d been hired. This decision would have been especially racist considering the character Valerie was Black in the original Archie comics.
Nevertheless protests from many in the industry spear headed by the soundtrack’s producers, Danny Janssen and Bobby Young caused Hanna- Barbera to go with the flow. Janssen and Young refused to work with anyone other than Patrice, thus she was allowed to keep the spot and record for Valerie’s singing voice. This would make Valerie, Black on television as well as in the comic books. Sue Sheridan, one of the co-writers, supervised the vocal arrangements. Patrice was well known for assisting with the vocal arrangements and given the songs where she is allowed to riff and scat the intro and or outro of a song one could get the impression that she had more than a bit of creative control.
The show was a success but peaked fast letting go a spin-off after it’s conclusion. The new show Josie and The Pussycats In Outer Space lasted only a season. Both incarnations of the show became cult classics and are still enjoyed by people all over the world. The episodes come back in the syndication rotation from time to time in America and are available on DVD.
Patrice achieved moderate success in her career but never really received the attention and backing from the record labels to make her name a household word as it could have been.
Patrice passed away in Los Angeles on October 1, 2006 after a heart attack and lengthy illness. Her memorial was well attended by family, friends, and fans. Condolences should be sent to Brenda Holloway in care of Santel Entertainment Group, Inc, 16041 G. Johnston Road, Suite #113, Charlotte, NC 28277
To learn more about Patrice Holloway please visit the websites listed below.Sources: www.spectropop.com/PatriceHolloway