For those of you that missed our annual Black and Gold Ball then you missed a treat in more ways than one. Sure it was a great time. It always is. But we also gave folks a glimpse at what we do. Here is a documentary that showcases one such program. After you see this, you'll see why I love being a part of the greatest frat in the world...
This one got off to an interesting start from the beginning. And when I say "beginning" I mean with the onset of getting the tickets sold. It dawned on me that now that I have more contacts and networking outlets than I did last year then I could potentially sell a table's worth of tickets. So that was my goal. 10 tickets sold. Pretty modest considering other bros were averaging two tables. However, if I did 10 that would be 10 better than I had done in previous years.
The initial response was very favorable. I had all types of folks interested. I thought for a minute there that I would actually need to get more tickets. However, the closer the time got to the ball, the less the solid the commitments were getting. The "Sounds fun..let me check on something"s turned into a myriad of excuses why folks couldn't make it.
Long story short, I still ended up selling my 10 tickets. Just barely, but I sold them. In fact, I sold all 10 tickets without taking myself into consideration. The tables only have 10 seats. I didn't have a seat for myself! But something told me that given the history of the commitments leading up to that date that something would open up. Sure enough, I was right.
The soror who was going to be sitting at my table told me just minutes before the Ball that she couldn't make it. There was the one open seat. Too bad it didn't stop there. My boy (who I won't put on front street by saying his name, but it rhymes with Schmill) told me minutes before that his sitter fell through so he couldn't make it. Even though they had known about it for a couple of months. Another couple couldn't make it but gave their tickets to their friends. Those friends showed but decided to sit at the table next to mine since their church friends were there. A First Fridays associate decided not to show. So my sold out table ended up with 5 empty seats. I have to admit that was a little embarrassing.
But I wasn't going to let something like that keep me from enjoying the Ball. Afterall, there were bros coming to town that I hadn't seen in forever. Like Josh from O Pi who I've kept in constant contact with thanks to Twitter and text. And Larry from O Pi who was responsible for making that tight XL-Images logo that I now have splashed everywhere (I really need to do a post about that site REAL soon). Not to mention the bros from the chapter who are always a good time anyway.
The program portion probably went a tad longer than it could have. It wasn't without some unintentional comedy though. I still can't believe that I must have been the only person who missed JT refer to some snack food as "crack snacks". Then there was Felix who apparently gets very long-winded when he gets nervous. VERY long-winded. But hey...he gave XL-Images a shout out so that was good.
The best part about the Ball was it was one of the most successful ones we have had in years. We had estimated we would sell right around 300 tickets. That totals 30 tables. After we started counting the guest list and doing the seating arrangements we found that we actually did 33 tables. It's been a while since it's been like that. I know the scholarship recipients for this year and next year are really going to appreciate that.
Now you know a Black and Gold Ball post wouldn't be complete without some pictures. I made it a point this year to float around more than I have in the past to get more comprehensive photos. Plus, I was also testing out a new lens and a borrowed speed light to see how the combination would work in that lighting. Not too bad if I say so myself. Check them out for yourself in the ZKL Black and Gold Ball 2011 photo album. Mark your calendar now and next year you could see yourself in some of these pics!
I guess it technically should be Happy Founders' Day. The actual "birth" would be when the idea of creatign the greatest fraternity on earth was first conceived. But no need in mincing minor details. No matter what you call it Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is 104-years-old today. So while everyone on the Book was doing the latest sheeple activity with the cartoon image for their profile pic, I opted for something different:
Now of course the POTUS isn't an Alpha. This picture was taken during the Inauguration Parade. There was some type of Hawaiian contingent going by and he threw up the universal sign for "hang loose". It looks close enough to our sign for us to claim him though. Plus, let's face it...you know he wants to be frat. More than anything it was a good reason to change my profile pic for a different reason than everyone else so I could still maintain my sense of rebellion.
The bros try to get together every year on Founders Day weekend to do something together. It could be something as simple as going out to dinner together then hitting First Fridays afterwards. That was the plan for Friday evening. It worked out good for me too since I would already be sticking in town to work First Fridays. Plus, it was my half day at work which would allow me to even get in some time to rest before the evening's events.
I initially planned to hit my favorite internet cafe: the Cup. I was going to chill there for a few hours before heading to dinner with the bros. Maybe even try to catch up on some movies online. However, as I was sitting there I got an IM from one of my bros, JT. He invited me over to hang out at his crib rather than stay where I was. That was definitely a plan. Worked out even better since the Cup was unusually drafty for some reason.
All this time I had known JT and I had never been to his house. I never even knew where he lived. I don't know why I thought it was on the south side some place. I also envisioned an older house for some reason. Not the modern fancy place that he had. It was laid out better than any bachelor pad I had ever seen. VERY comfortable. So much so that I could have sprawled out on that couch and been asleep for hours if he let me. Although that would have been difficult with his hyper boxer Rufus trying to playfully attack me all the time.
We met up with several other bros at Courtside Bar and Grill for dinner. I had only been there one time before and was quite pleased with their food. I just never had a chance to make it back. Several of my friends always rave about their menu items though. Now I see why. I went with their club wrap this time since I wasn't too hungry (had Henry Js for lunch earlier in the day). Not only was it incredibly tasty but it was also much bigger than I anticipated. That along with the wings bros had for appetizers had a brotha FULL.
We hit up the infamous Elks Lodge from there. I swear that place has been in Des Moines forever. I remember we used to clown it when we were younger as the spot where old folks go to party. Now look at us. Funny thing was we were probably still among the youngest folks in there. I suppose it's a decent enough place to go if you just want to chill and listen to some classic R&B cuts. It will just always have that certain stigma for me. But now I have to go back there at least a couple more times to get the Foursquqre mayorship away from Rob. Or at least close enough to it to register as a check-in.
It was a great being able to hang out with the bros as usual. Everytime bros get together I always find out something new about someone that I didn't know before. This time around it was Felix. The story that Broderick shared about him and the restroom in Vegas was down right EPIC. I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time. Our time fellowshipping togehter always reminds me why I'm so glad to be part of such an outstanding organization.
Whenever I see and/or hear the words "Omega Chapter" it is both a sweet and sour sensation to me. It means that another member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has moved on. They are no longer with us here, but at least they have gone to a better a place. That has recently happened with a brother from our very own Zeta Kappa Lamda graduate chapter.
Brother William White passed away this past Wednesday after losing a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 86-years-old.
Unfortunately, I never had the honor of getting to know Bro. White during the time that he was with us. I met him a couple of times at a couple of our functions, but never had any real conversation with him. I did get the grip from him though. I always enjoy getting the grip from our older brothers because it's a sign of respect. They won't just grip up anybody just because they wear the letters.
Bro. White was a Life Member of Alpha and was active in ZKL for over 40 years. That alone was quite an achievement. It was already impressive enough that he had been in Alpha longer than I have been alive. This brother had been active in our grad chapter longer than I have been alive. And you all know I'm no spring chicken.
One of his most notable accomplishments while with ZKL is that Bro. White was the original Chairperson of our world renoun (you heard me right....WORLDWIDE) ZKL Annual BBQ. Coincidentally enough, it never rained once while he presided over the BBQ. When asked why that was the case he would always proudly proclaim "The sun always shines on ALPHA!"
There's an old saying that goes "Not all great men are Alphas, but all Alphas are great men". That is unquestionably true for Bro. White. Omega Chapter has gained yet another great brother who will be missed by those who are still here.
Huge props go out to my frat brother Brian Hurd for originally posting this picture on The Book. I had entirely forgotten that it even existed. Although I very clearly remember the event. Okay..not VERY clearly, but I am impressed with how much I do remember about it.
Our local grad chapter, Zeta Kappa Lamda, had received word that the Fraternity's 28th General President was going to be speaking at the Botannical Center in Des Moines. It was short notice, but we knew that if we didn't have any prior engagements it was imperative that we show up to show our support. Not only that, but it was the first (and so far only) time that I've been able to actually meet one of our General Presidents in person.
The one thing that I do vividly recall about the event was an offer Dr. Ponder made during his speech. He was the sitting President of Fisk University (an HBCU, for those of you who aren't in the know) at the time. He announced to the parents present that for any student that had perfect attendance and a 3.0 GPA he would guarantee them a full tuitition scholarship to Fisk University. You should have seen the faces in that room light up when he said that. I sure would like to know how many parents actually followed thru on that.
What I like most about the picture is it is now the only one that I have of a few good brothers that I lost contact with. For instance, Mark Ross (kneeling front center in the blue shirt and tie) pledged grad chapter. He ended up moving to DC then pretty much fell off the face of the earth. None of us heard from him ever since he relocated. It was actually rather odd because he was extremely active with the chapter the entire time he was here.
The brotha responsible for the pic, B-Hurd, is standing on the far right. Notice how I managed to make sure I was positioned right next to Dr. Ponder? Yeah, I was slick like that. Wish I knew what kind of glasses those were that I called myself wearing though...
Some of y'all haven't been around this joint long enough to know what rules I had set forth for this category. I was supposed to stay away from the obvious things like the three big "Fs" (family, friends & frat) as well as obvious things like God and health. Well I've been known to break my own rule from time to time if the occasion so calls for it. This occasion so called for it.
There are several days that go by where multiple friends have birthdays on the same day. It's usually no big deal. It really depends on who the individuals are and/or my relationship with them. However, it is very rare that a day comes up where two bros share the same birthday. Especially two that are brothas instead of just frat. I once again have to thank Facebook for reminding me or I never would have caught it.
Oh wait...did some of y'all miss my explanation earlier on when I described the difference between "brothas" and "frat"? It's quite elementary actually. Any brother that has earned the right to wear our letters is automatically frat. No questions asked. However, it takes a closer bond for us to be brothas. I have to be more connected with that brother beyond just the letters. Anyone that came thru O Pi gets that distinction by default.
For Julian, I honestly didn't know who he was at all until he pledged. I was fortunate enough to be has dean during the process. I quickly learned that he was one of the funniest cats you would ever want to meet. He was able to find that silver lining no matter what the adversity. Just as any great deuce was supposed to do, he was the cohesion that kept that line sharp. Once he became active, he took it to the next level by being an integral part in everything the grad chapter did. All while getting more and more successful in the corporate world. His marrying Niema, a friend that I had known since junior high school was the icing on the cake. Julian is hands down one of the best brotas I've ever known.
As for Theotto, there may be a bigger age gap between us two, but that's alright. When I was going thru some things and needed a place to stay fora bit, this brotha stepped up to make room. I honestly didn't know him that well up to that point. He didn't know me that well either. But by extending that helping hand, he showed the true unselfishness of his nature. It was much appreciated. Something that I will never forget.
These two of these brothas exemplify everything that Alpha is supposed to be. It reminds me of that age old saying that not all great men are Alphas, but all Alphas are great men. Happy birthday to the both of you old men!
It seems like everytime Juneteenth rolls around there is always someone new that needs to be educated about exactly what it is. I'm fairly confident that most of the people that read my blog are already schooled on it. Especially those that have been with me for all four years. But for those newcomers and/or folks that aren't familiar I'll give you the Cliff Notes version. The slaves were freed and it took Texas an entire week to find out the news. Therefore, it's an observation to celebrate the emancipation from slavery. You see now how the whole Freedom Party theme tied in?
The frat got details on the specifics of the event rather last minute. When I say last minute, I mean about a week prior to Juneteenth. That would have been enough time for younger cats, but us older folks need a little more time to plan. We had to figure out staffing for the booth we would have set up on a short calendar. Not an easy feat to do during the summer when folks have prior engagements scheduled in advance. But as usual, the brothas found a way to make it work.
The Neighbor's Day portion of Juneteenth was to be held at Evelyn Davis Park as it is every year. That didn't seem like such a big deal in the past. However, the park has been in the news lately because of all the
violent activity that has taken place there in the past few months. More than normal for even that area. So when my coworkers found out about the location, that's the first thing that came to mind. Not Juneteenth itself, but wondering if there would be shootings there that day as well. That may have been the very same thing that kept attendance at what appeared to be an all-time low.
The thing is that those problems are more common there during the evening hours. Not to mention the fact that there's a police presence there during Juneteenth. As well as SEVERAL elders. Young folks are less apt to act a fool with all that type of authority around. But I don't think it was coincidence that the schedule stated the end time for Neighbor's Day was 2pm. That's earlier than it's been in the past. They can say what they want, but I'm convinced that that was done that way to make sure folks are out of the park well before it gets dark to avoid any potential for trouble.
So the start time of the event was supposed to be 10am. It was suggested that we get there at 9:30am to get our table set up. Something told me that wouldn't be necessary. I had no idea how right I was until I actually arrived at 10am. Why were they JUST starting the set up at that time?? There wasn't nan tent and/or table assembled. The only people who were ready to go were the food vendors. It's like the folks who were doing the tent set-up woke up late and said "Oh wait...that was today?!"
By the time we finally got our table to set our things up, it was pushing 11am. It didn't take us long to get our display assembled. We watched from afar as the set-up people continued getting the tents and/or tables for the vendors and/or other organizations put together. Once noon had arrived they were ALMOST done. Just to reiterate, this event was supposed to end at 2pm and two hours after it was scheduled to start, they weren't even ready. That's the first time I've seen the event that unorganized
I couldn't help but think that maybe it was quite fitting that it worked out that way. Afterall, Juneteenth is commemorating the emancipation news getting to the slaves late. So maybe they were just trying to stay true to the spirit of the day by getting everything ready late. Or maybe they should have been there bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7am instead of messing around.
At least the weather was somewhat agreeable for us. There have been prior Juneteeths where it's been unbearably hot. That's the risk you run with holding events outside in the middle of June. This time around we had a forecast of partly sunny with a chance of rain in the evening. Even with the slight overcast, it was still pretty sweltering out there. That tent that Brother Phil Hall provided was a much welcomed sight.
Needless to say, the 2pm end time didn't happen. Everyone knew that wasn't going to be the case since they got started so late. But even though they weren't ready at 10am, bros were. We had been in that heat for four hours once 2pm rolled around. We stayed until close to 3pm before we called it a day. By that time, I had logged an exhausted 24-hours worth of activities. A brotha was tired. But not too tired to hit you off with another photo album. Check it out as Juneteenth 2010. And be glad that you get to do it in the comfort of cooler temperatures.
I had been seeing the invitations for this on Facebook for a while. It was definitely for a worthy cause, but it fell on a weekend when I was scheduled to have other plans. I thought that may have been a blessing in disguise since I had no intentions of seeing "Sex in the City 2" after the horrible reviews it had been getting. However, I was interested in showing support to our sister organization since they have always supported our functions.
It turns out that I didn't have the funds to make that trip to Kansas City for Memorial Day weekend like I was hoping for. Under normal circumstances, I would have just chilled at home and watched what would end up being the close-out game of the Boston Celtics/Orlando Magic series. But I had told soror Andrea Smith that if I was in town I would be attending their function to show a presence for the black and old gold. I figured if anything else it would give me a chance to do a review of "Sex in the City 2" which I was sure would have at least SOME redeeming quality. So much for that thought.
The event was being held at the Fleur Cinema which was an ideal setting. The place was one a premier theater in Des Moines being one of the few major ones in the city. Back then it was known as Fleur 4 (because of its four screens). As more of the huge multiplexes starting sprouting up, Fleur 4 reinvented itself into a niche theater. It showed more of the artsy films while offering cafe type refreshments as their concessions. It narrowed their audience, but it gave it more of an eclectic feel to set it apart from all of the other theaters in the city.
I can't believe that I actually stressed a little about what to wear. I had no intentions to get all dressed up because it just wasn't that type of party. The thing was that I knew most of the folks there would be. Something about "Sex in the City" that inspires folks to step up their own fashion standards. Well I wasn't going to be one of them. It was still a movie in a theater which meant I would be wearing something comfortable yet still decent. I think I did alright for myself.
It was encouraging to see a parking lot full of cars when I arrived there. That meant the AKAs were having a great turnout. It didn't even dawn on me that there were three other movies playing there so some of the folks could have been there for those. What also didn't dawn on me was that there would be a good chance I would be the only guy there. That's exactly what I found once I walked in the door. Besides some other guy who I'm not 100% certain didn't have some sugar in his tank.
All I did for most of the pre-movie activities was walk around taking pictures. The ticket came with a complimentary Cosmopolitan which I was able to use for a soft drink instead. The food was light refreshments which meant cheese and crackers along with some fruit. It may sound a little frugal, but that was actually some really good cheese. Or maybe I was just hungry because I hadn't had any dinner.
They had a raffle where they were giving away several women-themed prizes. You would think with my luck that would be the one time my number would get called. It only made sense since I never win raffles with prizes that I actually want. Of course I would win something at that one, right? Not so much. That's quite alright though. What was I going to do with a "Sex in the City" gift pack complete with Carrie's perfume?
As for the movie? If you haven't already seen my review you can check it out by clicking here. Let me just summarize it by saying it left MUCH to be desired. I still stand behind the fact that they should have changed the name to "Geritol in the City". I fell asleep on part of it and once I woke up from dozing off I was wishing I would have missed the whole thing. AKA event or not, you can rest assured that I will NOT be going to see a #3 if someone is foolish enough to make it.
Sorors had an after party at the Best Western that came as part of the package deal. The only problem with that was with the late start time of the movie and its WAY too long 2 1/2 hour runtime, it meant us moviegoers wouldn't be able to get there until after midnight. That would usually be primetime for a party to be jumping. Not this one. The crowd was VERY sparse. I'm thinking the marketing of pairing the party with the movie probably turned some folks away. For me, even with as thin as that crowd was, it was STILL an improvement over the movie.
Of course the evening's activities meant another photo album. You can check it out as "AKAs SATC2 Event". It gave me the perfect opportunity to practice club scene photos in dim lighting conditions. I considered it my trial run for my gig coming up next Friday as the "official" First Friday's photographer. They came out much better than I anticipated which now has me looking forward to this Friday even more. Maybe this can evolve into my new part-time gig? We shall see...
Although I'm still in the middle of my week-long celebration of the 5th anniversary of my 35th birthday, I will pause to acknowledge my oldest sister's birthday....Happy Birthday, Teandra!
Everybody and their mom has a blog now. It's just a matter of time before LeBron's elbow has one too. It already has its own Twitter account
I'm going to need folks to realize that about 89% of the viral clips they circulate thinking they are authentic are just the opposite. They are staged and/or flat out fake. If I see that video of the African dude dancing during his church offering or the wannabe thug trying to get on the treadmill with his flip-flops one more time...
I've decided I'm going to stop watching all reality shows that involve no discernible talent. Even "American Idol" is on the fence because we know that's rigged
Just when I made that decision, I saw new episodes of "Little People, Big World" last night. I may have to make an exception for them. That show just has too much unintentional comedy watching little people trying to do things like regular-sized people
So former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has started a website asking for people for donations to help pay off his $1 million restitution that was HIS responsibility because of HIS blatant abuse of power?? I'm going to need someone to snatch him up and shake some sense into him
I just realized that with the four Omicron Pi undergrads recently graduating from Iowa State, this fall will be the first time in the 28 year history of O Pi Chapter that there will be no brothers from Omicron Pi on the yard
I have seen "Sugar Hill" several times and watch time I find myself still hoping that Goggles (Steve Harris) somehow makes it out of that predicament alive
Maxim ranked Katy Perry their choice for #1 on their Hot 100. Well it's a certainly a better pick than People choosing Julia Roberts as their #1, but still....NO
I can't get the "Treme" theme song out of my head
"Saturday Night Live" is SO much better when they have alumni come back
I don't care what anybody says, I'm actually looking forward to that "MacGruber" movie
I really have had enough of this cold weather in May. I should not have to be wearing a sweater to work this far into the year
I can't wait to get further south and away from this mess
Just went back and counted the total number birthday shoutouts I received: 131. And I made sure to respond to each and every one
My co-workers got me a Quiznos giftcard for a birthday present. Score!
If the Atlanta Hawks didn't want to show up to play the second round, why didn't they save us all some time and trouble and let the Milwaukee Bucks take their place against Orlando?
If the Cavs end up losing to the Celtics, I am confident that LeBron will not be staying in Cleveland. You heard it here first
So Nutrisystem dropped Lawrence Taylor over his prostitute ordeal. Okay...I can see that...but just how many sponsors did Ben Rothlisberger lose after TWO rape/assault charges??
I have been informed that I am a Swiftist, thanks to my disdain for Taylor Swift. I never thought about it like that but it is rather true. Please be aware that I am also a Beiberist as well as a Gagaist.