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THE PERSONAL FILE

'90s R&B and Ricky Gervais make her day

September 02, 2007|Lynell George

Actress Kim Blackwell remembers when everything didn't feel so dire. A collage of monologues and poems told through the eyes of eight characters, "Lady K Is on the Mic" (her recent piece at Hollywood's Underground Theater and Annex), was a clear-eyed look at the cultural shifts in post-civil rights African American culture over three decades in Los Angeles. It was both a valentine to black culture and a wake-up call: "There's such a serious vibe to hip-hop and thug culture, and I remember when there used to be such joy in black music. You'd go to a club and people were smiling, not saying, 'Now who stepped on my foot!?' " She shares some things that put a smile on her face.

TiVO PICKS

"Extras," "The Office," "30 Rock." Because the funniest people on TV are Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin.

IN HEAVY ROTATION

ON THE iPOD

"What Can You Do for Me" by Labelle, "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka Khan and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" by Donny Hathaway. If the opening bars of these three songs don't get you, you're obviously made of stone.

SOUNDTRACK FOR

THE COMMUTE

Lately, '90s R&B, because it's the last decade that black music had an unself-conscious sense of fun. My current favorite is "Don't Walk Away" by Jade.

IN THE NETFLIX QUEUE

"Becket," "The Sopranos' " Season 6, "Black Orpheus." "Becket" because I love great acting, and who's better than the Brits? Well, the Aussies . . . but Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton and John Gielgud all in the same movie? Delicious.

BEDSTAND LIBRARY

A mostly blank journal, "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris and "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison.

TOP INTERNET

DESTINATIONS

Casadecrystal.com because I'm planning a trip to Puerto Rico, rickygervais.com (this should need no explanation) and gofugyourself.com, a guilty pleasure. It's a little mean, but the ladies are very funny writers.

YOUTUBE PICKS

Damita Jo Freeman and James Brown on "Soul Train" -- early '70s. "A Special Christmas Box" (Andy Samberg & Justin Timberlake) -- I'm waiting for this to stop being funny, but it never does.

SECRET WEAPON

FOR NAVIGATING THE CULTURE

Working out at Bally's in Hollywood. Refreshingly unpretentious and low-key. There is no ear-splitting circuit music, no one barking into their cellphones about production meetings, and most people don't look like they've just come off a runway show where they had access to hair and makeup people. You're hard pressed to find a TV monitor that works, but the transsexuals put on quite a show.

-- Lynell George

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