I was at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, and found myself watching the wonderful Keith (“The Thing” and “They Live”) David being interviewed on the red carpet. Afterwards, I was talking to director Ernest Dickerson (“Demon Knight”) and Keith came over and we all started jawing.
I wondered if I was going to do it. I’d had a joke I’d kept in my mind for YEARS and never thought I’d really have the chance to say to the folks concerned. But then…the opening happened.
“I’ve had a joke I’ve told for years, Mr. David. And it involves you. May I tell you?”
He was amused. “Sure,” he said.
“Well, I dreamed that I saw a theater marquee. The names were Keith David and David Keith, and the title was `Palindrome’.”
He cracked up, and I relaxed. Man, I’d had that one in my head for twenty years! And he laughed. Taa-Daah! There he is, third from the left end, seated next to T. At the very end? Tony “Candyman” Todd!
Really, the event was great, a celebration of SHUDDER network’s documentary “HORROR NOIRE”, a celebration of black horror films from the earliest (“Birth of a Nation” was front and center) to “Get Out”. Based on the nonfiction cinema book by Robin R. Means Coleman Phd, and executive produced by my wifie Tananarive Due, this is a terrific piece of work: funny, heart-breaking, infuriating, uplifting, and educational. Very well done.
I had so much fun watching T being a star, introducing people like Rusty Cundieff (“Tales from the Hood”, “Fear of a Black Hat”) and Tony Todd (“Candyman”) to a packed house. I know that she felt isolated much of her professional life, and being in a room of “horror heads”, let alone “BLACK horror heads” — meaning black people who create and enjoy horror, and white folks who enjoy it as well — had to feel like a homecoming.
William Crain, the director of 1972’s “Blacula” was there (he’ s on the left end of the picture, next to Tony Todd) , and I had a chance to speak with him too, shake his hand and thank him for his place in history. What a blast!
But the most fun might have been Rusty Cundieff. I’d met him briefly at an NAACP Image Awards lunch, but being able to actually rap with him about “Fear of a Black Hat”, a movie that ranks with “Spinal Tap” as the best music mockumentary, was a blast. Especially talking about the range of music, from the immortal “Booty Juice” (you had to be there) all the way to “Guerrillas in the Midst” which, if you didn’t know it was a put-on, would have been straight-up gangsta. He talked about current plans (not for me to talk about, but I smiled a LOT) and how they designed the songs: some silly and some deadly serious (in context). It was great.
I was happy to have had that conversation, because I couldn’t be at UCLA the day he lectured T’s class. That was a hell of a talk, and we wanted to share it…and will. There’s a little teeny catch. We got Rusty’s permission to use his video to raise a little money for the POOR ORPHANS OF UGANDA fund. It’s FREE: if you’ll make a small donation, we’ll share the video with you. Not a dime goes into our pockets. These are kids experiencing the REAL horror of not enough food, shelter, or clean water. Won’t you help us stop their nightmare?
Then…listen to Rusty talking about “Tales From The Hood 2”, and where he goes from here. It’s a hoot!
All the best,