The National Anthem, according to Brian McKnight and his sons, in “sultry, yet soothing falsetto’s”.
The National Anthem, according to Brian McKnight and his sons, in “sultry, yet soothing falsetto’s”.
The family is at it again. Presenting episode 2 of Matthew’s reality series based on our family. Today’s episode: Josiah goes back to College and moves into his new apartment!
MARK & JOSIAH!
It was dad’s birthday yesterday! And there are a lot of things I could say about how amazing the man is and how its okay that we don’t always agree on things, and that we’ve faced interpersonal challenges together, and how he’s my hero, so on and so forth… And all of that would be true. But I actually wanted to recount an evening he and my brothers had with him the night BEFORE his birthday that sums up who he is.
Provider and protector.
So America is in racial upheaval as of this month, especially the past 2 weeks due to killings and issues surrounding police and rioting. Its all over the news and #Ferguson or #MikeBrown is everywhere! Well the night before last, Dad just set us all down, us four Bradley Boys, to mainly tell us that he loved us. Through all of the fear, rage and conspiracy going on in the world, Dad mostly wanted to remind us that he loves us and that God loves us.
And that kick started my brothers and I naturally finding things to celebrate about each other. I congratulated and encouraged my brothers for the past year they’d had, through highs and lows. It was timely too, this meeting, because I had wanted to talk to Ethan recently and tell him how proud I am of him as he goes through the changes he is facing.
And I told Matthew he had inspired me to be more of a go-getter as far as art and life is concerned. I like his hustle
and his attitude that he can do anything he sets his mind to. He is ready for anything and I love that about him and it felt good to finally say that amongst us guys.
I had heard Daniel, the youngest had been coming into his own as well and is growing into his teen years just fine, speaking up for himself and unafraid to be himself. I had worried about him just because I’m his older brother but when Matthew brought up Daniel’s successes lately I just felt at ease; Daniel is tougher than he looks!
At the end, Dad got out some Communion wine and bread and we just recalled the goodness of God in our lives and gave thanks for the love between us. Dad admitted in light of craziness on the news, he was worried and concerned about our safety, especially with me going back to college and not being around as much again. But we know we are loved and have love to give and that makes all the difference no matter what anyone outside my family is doing. What matters is home and family.
And I noticed that especially when life gets terrifying, sentiments like these don’t sound so cliche anymore. They can be the difference between life and death, emotionally and literally. So tell your people that you love them. In the end, everything and everyone dies, but souls do live on to inspire and transform life for the better.
I’m glad Dad had a great birthday yesterday just him and the family… the most noteworthy thing of all.
Tracy McMillan is a television writer (Mad Men, United States of Tara) and relationship author who wrote the book Why You’re Not Married…Yet, based on her viral 2011 Huffington Post blog. She also appeared as a dating coach on the NBC reality show Ready For Love. She lives in Los Angeles and is the mother of a 16-year-old guy.
In her TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen talk, McMillan answers the question: “Who is the one person you need to marry in order to have a successful relationship? (Yourself)”
“The places where you have the biggest challenges in your life become the places where you have the most to give.”
Happy Friday everyone!, and always stay true to yourself!
It’s raining like crazy today!
Anyway, I’m gonna go back to August 1st. So I love my mom right, and my Dad has always encouraged the brothers and I to treat her right and do nice things for her. I was not only raised by my mom obviously, but I was educated by her too because she Homeschooled us as kids; yup, all the way up through high school. And because she has done so much for me, I have always felt there was NOTHING I could possibly do that could measure up to all she has given me.
Truth is I can’t.
And then I remembered, my mom isn’t a demanding woman; she doesn’t ask for a lot and she doesn’t flaunt her motherliness all over the place expecting certain treatment. She just loves people and that’s enough for her.
That realization gave me the kick in the pants to take her out again to see the movie Boyhood by Richard Linklater. The last movie I took her too was You Again!, that Jamie Lee Curtis versus Sigourney Weaver movie from a few years back. But we didn’t get to eat dinner that time. This time would be different.
So as broke as I was, Mom was her awesome self again, wanting to experience Baltimore and this “awesome Charles theater” I kept talking about. I should’ve known she wouldn’t care about paying for things; presence over presents. And I mean she has always provided and Boyhood was all about that, so it was kind of poetic.
So mom and I caught up on the drive down to Bmore, talking bills, summer time, entertainment news, etc. We even took a weird back road where we got to see all of these HUGE old rustic houses; she and my dad always liked walking/driving through neighborhoods admiring big houses. Finally we made it to Charles St.
Our first stop was Teatro Toppas for dinner. Its built right next door to The Charles and I’d never been there. “Small plates, big pleasure” is right! Mom and I laughed over plates of kale (how hipster of us), lamb chop w/ rhubarb BBQ sauce, fried bass, shrimp and calamari; I had never had fried anything that was so spot on and so lightly fried and it was superb! Next thing we knew it was time to see the movie, but we’d recommend Teatro Toppas to anyone in the DC/Baltimore area!
So I got a good laugh when I realized I had confused The Charles for The Senator! I was told one of these theaters was very old-school looking, with curtains and that old-timey feel. So that was a bummer, but then we were overcome with how vast the auditorium was; instead of seats stacked on each other like in traditional theaters, the rows were spaced out stretching several, several yards in every direction. Wow!
Our feelings during and after the movie was just a feeling of awe: its amazing to watch a 2hour movie of kids aging 12 years in one sitting. The closest and maybe most recent experience like this was Harry Potter movies, difference being obvious – we grew up with the actors.
The story is very simple and obvious – growing up. The movie follows Ellar Coltrane as Mason from the age of 7 to 19 as his family moves to Texas to start a new life. The story follows him and his sister and mother as they reunite with their dad played by Ethan Hawke. Honestly the story could have followed any one of them in that family, or more specifically Mason’s sister, because it is just so cool to watch these same young actors grow 12 years right before your eyes.
I really don’t want to say more than that so that you can watch the movie for yourself. I admit that the movie might be more amazing as an experimental movie technically due to sticking with the same actors. The story is fine and familiar in some ways but its the behind the scenes knowledge and the way its been marketed that will put you in that theater and you will get your money’s worth for sure.
Mom and I on the drive home had a lot of fun decoding the family dynamics, mainly between the mom and dad characters. Their relationship and separate lives around Mason are very interesting to watch and Ethan Hawke is just awesome to watch since I don’t regularly watch his movies. And let me say it was awesome seeing Patricia “Kissin’ Kate Barlow” Arquette again, its been a while!
Sorry I really want to get into the nitty-gritty of the movie that mom and I did but – you just gotta go see it. But its nights like that one with my mom that fill me with happiness. Most of the time I just talk to my mom about movies but rarely do I get to see any with her, lately mostly since I’m at school for another year. She had an amazing time, just her and I catching up and it was a lot fo fun sharing my kind of new “home” in Baltimore with her and showing her where my college friends hang out and getting a taste of something new. And I think that movie gave me a small taste of what it must be like to be her, to be a parent, to watch kids grow up so quick right before your eyes! I think I appreciated her love even more after that night.
She says she and Dad will go to Teatro Toppas one night soon. But I do want to take her out for mother/son bonding time again and cover everything! But I remember that love is really what matters to her and spending a night out with good food and a great movie experience just her and I was just what the doctor ordered and I look forward to out next adventure together.
This past summer I have enjoyed creating projects with my immediate and extended family and I’d like to list them from most recent to earliest team up.
Matthew’s Web series – Last night my brother Matthew completed filming on the pilot for his newest web series project following our family. It is inspired by his newest obsession, Parks & Rec haha and follows my family, albeit more exaggerated, in a single-camera set up. Our friend Ryan is producing it with him. I’m really excited to see how this turns out and I’m sure Matthew is too; the whole family is pretty stoked about it and being on camera. This will mark my dad’s first time on camera since by now everyone including our dog has been on YouTube or some short film!
Ethan’s 2nd Day of Bait & Switch – Yesterday afternoon marked my other brother Ethan’s second day onset of Bait & Switch, a web series me and a couple Towson friends have been producing for a year and a half. He gets to put his natural style to good use, playing a dashing law enforcement officer. He’s just naturally sharp and dresses nice for his job so I figured he’d be perfect for this brief stint on the show. I look forward to watching him when his episodes air online later. It was exciting to work with Ethan in a film; the last thing he and I did was a cool street gang inspired photo shoot I did a few years back, but finally he’s acting; last time we acted together was for one of our god mother’s stage plays.
Oh, also my best friend Marcus has a couple roles on Bait & Switch also and that was exciting putting him back onscreen as an aspiring actor. Last time he was onscreen was a couple years back for our friend’s film Waging War…
Marcus the Thespian – Which segues into more about my best friend, who might as well be family. I am happy so say that he has gotten some new head shots taken with a new friend of ours, a free lance photographer close to other mutual family friends. Its not all about me, but dad says its going well when one project makes room for others to grow. My friendship with Charity has now made a way for Marcus to get things done for his acting career: getting new head shots, starring in a web series, and being an extra on other films including House of Cards. This Friday he’ll be in a cool concert/riot type scene and he even listens to the featured artists and has memorabilia he can bring! I can’t go cause I’m spending time with my grandmother but I wanted to pass it forward so I’m glad he can go and get more experience, do his own thing, and things can only get better for him!
Photo Shoot with Charity – Extending to other friends, my new friend Charity is budding free lance photographer and film maker. She recently shot photos of some models for me to serve as promotion for Noteworthy Tribute in the near future! I was scared the shoot wouldn’t work out due to scheduling conflicts, my own inexperience and above all… BAD WEATHER. But thank God it all worked out! My Lammda Kappa Tau ladies were amazingly professional (good reunion with them before school starts), and my family friend Kiana did wonderful make up for them. It was a great day of laughter and team work and dad and I can’t wait to reveal the poster(s) we create from that photo shoot!
Marcus’s Screenplay – The middle of the summer saw me hard at work on a short script for Marcus’s first major production for the near future. The story is an action drama about forgiving one’s self. Honestly its the most brutal thing I have written yet and I welcomed the challenge to condense the story into something we hope will be half an hour or so when shooting begins. right now draft 1 is done and I am awaiting feedback from a few trusted friends on the script, including Marcus and our friend Audie who will play the central character. Its so fun to get buried in a story, a new story and even one that has an end point much shorter than you’re used to. It forces you to be creative in new ways in your writing and get to the point sooner. I can’t wait for Marcus to direct this movie!
Matthew & Ryan’s DREAMERS – Bringing it back to the Bradleys, all of my brothers save Daniel, filmed a new episode of an older series Matthew and Ryan put out about people with powers over dreams and consciousness a few weeks back. I think Matthew plans to have Ethan and I onscreen for this revamp/reboot of his and Ryan’s story; not sure, but he seems to be planning at least one more episode with us and I am happy to help, if I can only slow down enough haha.
Aunt and Cousin Editing – Dad and I have employed one of my aunt and cousins to do grammar and continuity editing on our current manuscript of Noteworthy Tribute. Its been a long time coming and Aunt Chris has finished all of it and I am hoping to get more insight on what she thought of the story. Aunt Chris has already been cited in someone else’s book as editor so that got all of us pumped to sing her on to work with us on getting our manuscript out!
And that concludes my recap of the summer. As you can see, we in my family like to stay busy, but as my brothers and i get older we have no been inspired to keep a lot of projects in the family or include more of our family. And its been a wonderful experience meeting new friends in the creativity business we can collaborate with. I look forward to seeing these projects come to fruition and be completed and to sharing them with you all!