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Damon Wayans, Jr. Headlines Shaq’s Comedy Jam At San Manuel

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San Manuel Indian Nation – Thursday, April 5, 2012, San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino welcomes the return of Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jam featuring Damon Wayans, Jr., DeRay Davis, Lavell Crawford, Lil Duval, Gary Owens and Finesse Mitchell. Tickets are on sale today and available at Ticketmaster.com and the San Manuel Box Office for $25, $35 and $45.

With comedy in his genes, Damon Wayans, Jr. pursued his passion for fine arts and animation by attending the Otis School for Art and Design. This would prove much of his success when becoming the youngest staff writer on television for the comedy series “My Wife and Kids.” Following in his father’s footsteps, Damon, Jr., braved the world of stand up, and in 2006 began appearing and writing for the sketch comedy Showtime series, “The Underground.” In 2008, Damon Jr. was featured on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” DeRay Davis has a long list of comedy film credits including “Life As We Know It”, “Semi-Pro”, “Old Dogs”, “Imagine That”, “License to Wed”, “Scary Movie 4”, “Barbershop 1 &2”, and “Johnson Family Vacation”. Born in Chicago, he was first noticed by Hollywood at Atlanta’s Laffapalooza Festival, and shortly after began touring on the Cedric the Entertainer Tour. His recording side came out when he wrote and performed the comedy skits on Kanye West’s LPs “Late Registration” and “The College Dropout”. He performed at the 2006 Grammy Awards with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx.

Lavell Crawford credits his first big break with his appearance on “DEF Comedy Jam” and BET’s “Comicview”. From that point on Crawford can be seen both in comedy clubs across the nation and as a regular on “Chelsea Lately.” More recently, his stand-up comedy special, “Can A Brother Get Some Love?” was released on DVD in August 2011. Roland Powell gets his stage name, Lil Duval, from the Florida county from which he hails, in which he uses his home turf in his stand-up routine. Duval hit the scene with his performance at Atlanta’s legendary Uptown Comedy Corner, but it wasn’t until a stand-up contest in Oakland, when he was noticed by Cedric the Entertainer, and appeared on “Cedric the Entertainer: Starting Lineup.” With his signature routine, “Stalker Anthem”, he gained more recognition.

Gary Owen has performed in comedy rooms across America including The Laugh Factory Hollywood, The Comedy Store, all of the Improvs, and many more. Owen has received much success from his recurring character Zach the barber in Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.” He has also appeared in such films as “Little Man”, “Rebound” and “Daddy Day Care”. His road to comedy was not all laughs, after serving in the Navy and holding a military police officer position, Owen realized his passion and talent for comedy, and became known as the “Funniest Serviceman in America.”

Now starring on the Disney Channel's #1 hit show “A.N.T. Farm” as Chyna's Dad a.k.a Officer Darryl Parks... Finesse has not slowed down one bit. From BET’s “Comic View” to “The Tyra Banks Show” from “Comedy Central Presents...” to the “Today Show”, Finesse Mitchell got his first big break when he was asked to be a feature player on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and was promoted to cast member in 2005. Long before becoming a regular on SNL, this author, actor and former insurance salesman made an impact in the world of stand-up comedy, with sold-out live performances all over the country and abroad.

Every Thursday night with headliner entertainment, San Manuel gives away $1,000 just for seeing the show. To be eligible to win, guests only need a ticket to the show, a Club Serrano card and to be 21 or older. Guests can enter beginning at noon on such days. Three drawings will be held on those nights: $250 at 7:20 p.m., $250 at 10:00 p.m. and $500 at 11:00 p.m. Winners must be present. NOTE: Doors open at 6:30pm. Must be 21 to enter Casino. Please gamble responsibly.

American Experience Presents Jesse Owens

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Premieres Tuesday, May 1, 2012 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS

“He is the quintessential Olympic hero. He stood up to racists in Germany, he stood up to racists at home and he did it with a grace and a genius that have not been equaled.” — Jeremy Schaap, ESPN reporter and author of Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics.

He was the most famous athlete of his time, whose stunning triumph at the 1936 Olympic Games captivated the world, even as it infuriated the Nazis. Despite the racial slurs he endured, his grace and athleticism rallied crowds around the world. Yet when the four-time Olympic gold medalist returned home, he couldn’t even ride in the front of a bus. Jesse Owens is the story of the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over adversity to become a hero and world champion. But his story is also about the elusive, fleeting quality of fame and the way Americans idolize athletes when they suit our purpose, and forget them once they don’t. Produced and directed by Laurens Grant and written and produced by Stanley Nelson, the team behind the Emmy Award-winning documentary Freedom Riders, the film will premiere on the PBS series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. (check local listings).

It is hard to imagine a more politically charged atmosphere than the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Originally opposed to the idea of the games, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was convinced by his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels that they were the perfect opportunity to showcase the superiority of Aryan athletes. Hitler presided over the opening day ceremonies, whipping the crowds into a frenzy of excitement. On August 3, when Jesse Owens stepped into the massive new Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the crowd went silent with anticipation, sitting on the edge of their seats to see the much-talked-about track star from America compete against the Germans. Running on a muddy track, Owens equaled both the Olympic and world records of 10.3 seconds in the 100-meter dash and won his first gold medal. Tradition called for the leader of the host country to congratulate the winner but Hitler refused. “Do you really think,” the German leader said, “I will allow myself to be photographed shaking hands with a Negro?”

In his second event, the long jump, Owens dramatically beat the German favorite, Carl “Luz” Long, setting an Olympic record that stood for twenty-four years. The next day, against a headwind, Owens set a world record in the 200-meter dash, achieving his goal of winning three gold medals. Then, unexpectedly, Owens was ordered — against his wishes — to replace a Jewish sprinter on the 400-meter relay team. U.S. officials had changed the line-up at the last minute to placate their German counterparts by not fielding Jewish athletes. Owens won his fourth gold medal, the first African American to do so.

Following the Olympics, Owens and his teammates were ordered to embark on a European fundraising tour for the Amateur Athletic Union. Tired, exhausted, and already separated from his wife for three months, Owens wanted to go home. Brundage threatened to strip Owens of his amateur athletic standing if he left, a threat which he made good when Owens departed. Now banned from competing in any sanctioned sporting event in the U.S., the athlete returned to a country with its own racial divide. On his first night back, he and his wife couldn’t find lodging in New York until one hotel finally agreed to rent them a room if they used the service entrance.

'42nd Street' Taps Its Way Into San Bernardino

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The non-stop fun is contagious in one of Broadway’s most loved musicals, “42nd Street,” on stage March 16-18 at the historic California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St.

A presentation of Theatrical Arts International, performances are at 8 p.m. March 16-17, 2 p.m. March 17-18 and 7 p.m. March 18. Tickets are $38.50- $77.50, available at www. ticketmaster.com, www. livenation.com, or theater box office at (09) 885-5152.

Mounting a Great White Way show in the middle of the Great Depression is no easy task, but producer Julian Marsh is not about to let that happen, even when his leading lady is injured and a young, budding chorus girl has to take her place. But the show must go on.

The award-winning musical features such songs as “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Young and Healthy,” and, of course, the title song, “42nd Street.”

“42nd Street,’ a toetapping extravaganza that is sure to entertain the whole family, won the 1980 Tony Award for Best Musical. It became a long running hit on Broadway.

An Evening at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards

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REVIEW

By Lea Michelle Cash –

The winners of the 43rd NAACP Image Awards were recently announced during a live two-hour (tape-delayed) broadcast at the historical Shrine Auditorium. The entire auditorium was packed with a rainbow colored people to honor our nation’s premier multi-cultural award show that celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the field of television, music, literature, film and promoters of social injustice through creative endeavors.

The special affair filled with glitter and sparkle, created an atmosphere so beautiful that happiness was radiating everywhere. What made this so very special—is that the NAACP is on a strict budget, hit by hard economic times like many organizations in our country. Therefore, the grandiose tinsel and glam was gone—but the grandstand of intimacy and uniqueness of Black people gathering to celebrate their own with joy and love was present and priceless—it dazzled the eyes and warmed the heart.

Many of the greatest names in film, television, and music appeared as presenters, or provided a musical performance. The Image Award nominees and winners were gracious and allowed the media like a cyclone, in full force to tug at them, pull them in a million directions, to take countless photos, and answer a thousand questions that never seemed to end. Just imagine.

The glorious chaos—it was beautiful.

There were several highlighting events during the telecast and behind the scene. First, when the Tuskegee Airmen walked down the red carpet, the entire carpet exploded. The aviators came with a large entourage of family members, and they all walked -- some with canes or rolled in wheelchairs down the red carpet—gloriously! This era is truly the moment in time for America’s first all-Black aerial combat unit. During the telecast, the Airmen (all elderly) struggled to stand, yet they did with honor, and received their standing ovation.

George Lucas, received one of the highest honors of the evening—the Vanguard Award, for perseverance making a film inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen’s historic and heroic acts.

Samuel L. Jackson did Lucas’ presentation. The Black Stuntmen’s Association was honored with the President’s Award. They were introduced and presented their awards by Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. On June 24, 2010, the California Legislature honored them at the State Capital. San Bernardino County’s own, 62nd District Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter was present. Her picture with the stuntmen and other representatives is featured in the 43rd Image Award souvenir journal.

Then there was the highest of all honors—the Chairman’s Award. This prestigious award was presented to Cathy Hughes, the Founder and Chairman of Radio One, Inc., the nation’s largest African American owned and operated broadcast company in the nation. It is also the parent corporation of TV One. Radio One is now a public company, making Hughes the first and only African American woman to chair a publicly held corporation.

On stage, Yolanda Adams lit up the auditorium with her gospel musical performance of “I Love the Lord” in tribute to Whitney Houston. People backstage and in the audience began to drop tears. Time stood still, and all you could hear was Adam’s powerful voice and the gospel choir that backed her. Backstage, standing shoulder to shoulder were Laurence Fishburne and LL Cool J watching the TV monitor as Adams sang her heart out. When Adams concluded, the noise in the room returned to its high pitch levels—with praise to God, endless applause (coupled with the applause) filling the historic Shrine Auditorium.

Other honorees to receive awards were Nick Cannon, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Regina King, James Pickens Jr., Archie Panjabi, Emerson Brooks, Diggy Simmons, George Benson, Sounds of Blackness, Jennifer Hudson, Hill Harper, Harry Belafonte, T. D. Jakes, Jeff Burlingame, and Mike Epps. The Movie “The Help” won Outstanding Motion Picture and “Pariah” won “Outstanding Independent Motion Picture”. “Oprah’s Life Class” won Outstanding Talk Series, and “Dancing with the Stars” won Outstanding Reality Series. “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” won Outstanding Comedy Series, and “Law & Order: Special Victims Units” won Outstanding Drama Series.

In remembering a statement that director Steven Spielberg said at the 2000 NAACP Image Awards, “there’s a lot to be done in the world we share. We still must acknowledge the painful absence of racial diversity within our own industry,” this evening telecast in front of the camera and behind the cameras did reflect that the process is growing and evolving.

Review: The 84th Annual Academy Awards

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By Lea Michelle Cash –

Hollywood — I was raised in Brighton, Massachusetts, a small predominantly White suburban neighborhood located in the northwest corner of Boston, which did not have much shenanigans for tinsel, glitter or glam, because it is centered on culture, proper English and academics. Therefore, at a young age, I started reading entertainment magazines to get my dose of Hollywood excitement and all its royal glory. My father painted my bedroom walls with fluorescent sparkles that illuminated and shined. In my bedroom, I dreamed of becoming an entertainment reporter, and one day meeting a man named Oscar, who lived in Hollywood—this magical place nearly three thousand miles away from me.

On February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Blvd, my childhood dream came true. I arrived on the 84th Academy Awards Red Carpet at 10:30 AM. Hundreds of people were already seated in the viewing bleachers that lined the Red Carpet. On the carpet were hundreds of media professionals, outlets from every corner of the globe. Many in their native dress, most could not speak English, but all collectively understood these two words—Hollywood and Oscar. I was elated and over the moon finding it hard to breathe at times—these are my people—media folks. All shapes, sizes, and colors, I was living my dream.

Morgan Freeman opened the celebration of magic in movies. The stage setting was breathtaking. It was decorated as a historic movie palace and costumed hostesses handed out popcorn and candy to the audience. Freeman introduced the host, an actor, writer, producer, film director, and comedian Billy Crystal. This is his ninth Academy Awards as Oscar host. Crystal does his spoofs on the five movies nominated for Best Movie. The Academy Awards with America’s most loved Hollywood stars moves at a quick pace and the controversy and speculation of who will win begins to intensify and unfold.

The big winners for the star-studded night were “The Artist” and “Hugo” that each swept up five golden Oscar trophies. Natalie Portman presented the male actors in a leading role. She commented about each individual character and what made their performances very different. Jean Dujardin took the Oscar for his leading role in the film “The Artist”. He is overjoyed as the first Frenchman to win best actor. The nostalgia creative brilliance of “The Artist” won best picture, best director, best costume and best score. Visionary filmmaker, Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” won awards for art direction, visual effects and cinematography.

Colin Firth on stage presents the best actress in a leading role. On stage and backstage there is silence. Beating out Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) and Viola Davis (The Help), Meryl Streep wins the Oscar for her leading role in the movie “The Iron Lady.” This is Streep’s third Oscar win. I dropped some tears for Viola Davis. Soon wiped them away greeting Streep, who was gracious, absolutely radiant, and very happy to have received the prestigious award.

During his acceptance speech, T. J. Martin one of “Undefeated’s” directors used inappropriate language. Backstage, completely overjoyed at winning an Oscar, he apologized. “First and foremost I want to apologize for that," Martin told the press. "I don't think that was the classiest thing in the world, however, with that said it did come from the heart. It was absolutely spontaneous and there's no way in the world I thought this would happen. This is the most insane thing that's ever happened." The movie, “Undefeated” won best documentary feature. Sean P. Diddy Combs was an executive director on this film.

The night belonged to an emotional Octavia Spencer, who received an Academy Award for her role as best supporting actress in the movie “The Help”. She wept and was the first to receive a heartfelt standing ovation, before her feet landed on the beautiful stage.

Backstage in the interview room, where I was given the opportunity to meet all the winners, I asked her a question about her experience and what she would like to say to any young women who desired to be like her one day. She replied, “This is the one of those evenings in my life that I’ll never forget. I hope it is the hallmark of more for young aspiring actresses of color, and by color, I don’t just mean African Americans. I mean Indian, Native Americans, Latin Americans, and Asian Americans. I hope that in some way that I can be some sort of beacon of hope, especially because I am not the typical Hollywood beauty.”

Other Awards included Best supporting actor—Christopher Plummer, Best song—Man or Muppet, Best animated—“Rango”, Best adapted screenplay—“The Descendants” and best original screenplay—Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris.”

Now, I must dream a bigger dream as Oprah Winfrey often says. It was a night of dreams come true for many, and a time to celebrate. The 84th Academy Awards was definitely an amazing night to remember—when media folks from around the globe, happily united for movie magic and a man named Oscar, who lived in Hollywood over three thousand miles from me.

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