Monday, July 30, 2012


Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey in "Magic Mike"

(Mobile, AL.)--WORK ALL DAY, WORK IT ALL AT NIGHT!  A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women and make easy money! The tag line and the trailers to "Magic Mike" seemed unassuming enough. I should have really reconsidered a movie about the seedy life of a stripper, but because my mother is a huge fan of Matthew McConaughey I decided to give it a try.

So there I was, sitting in the two front row seats with my mother.  I thought we were having a relaxing end to what started out as a "girls night". Unfortunately it didn't take long for me to turn red faced. I'm talking beet red. Yep, it happens. I'm not too black to blush.

Let's just say mother saw more of Matthew than she ever bargained for.  From the opening scene to the closing credits this movie was nothing short of pornographic.  The language was reduced to the lowest common denominator.  How many times can 6 grown men use the "d" word?  I was uncomfortable with the "d" and the "p" word in the movie "The 40 Year old Virgin" and "Magic Mike" is no better.

What "Magic Mike" lacks in a plot it more than makes up for in nudity. Correction, frontal nudity! Don't get me wrong folks, I'm no prude, but is it really necessary to show a stripper "enlarging himself through a suction tube before hitting the stage?" I mean they showed the actual penis! Seriously?  I expected an occasional sock stuffed in the g-strap, but a suction cup? Geez!  I'm still explaining that one to Mom.

Needless to say Mrs. Walton is still a fan of Matthew McConaughey.  She thought his dialogue was natural and his performance credible.  Honestly, I think she's still having "cougar dreams" of his "buns of steal!"

Surprisingly, I liked Channing Tatum's abs and his dance moves. Though there was a lot of gyrating that left you speechless, Tatum nailed a few hip hop performances in the movie.

Would I recommend this one?  Not hardly. Will I pick movies in the future that leave me a little less embarrassed in the company of my mother?  Count on it!  I'm Varion Walton and that's "my view".

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kevin Hart, Tank, and Tyrese Love Charlie Wilson's Performance at the 20...

                ESSENCE FEST "REWIND!" 

*Video courtesy of P. Music Group

Check out this video shot by "E" of Elpwe's Photography. There's so much talent in this one frame of video.  I truly feel privileged to have witnessed this impromptu comedy show first hand.  

It’s hard to believe Charlie Wilson and Kevin Hart had never seen each other’s work before Essence Music Festival 2012.  In the video Kevin who is hanging out with R&B crooners Tyrese and Tank immediately started to “roll” out the jokes the moment he saw Charlie Wilson stepped out of a security vehicle backstage. Elpwe Ray did an incredible job capturing the essence of Uncle Charlie influencing the “next generation of entertainers” in this 2 minute clip.

Comedian Kevin Hart and Varion Walton
Kevin Hart is one of the funniest guys on the circuit  today and it was really cool meeting him. I got a chance to ask him one or two questions backstage.  I loved his natural, honest response when I asked if he is often amazed about his new found success?  "Hell yes!" 'If anyone had told me it would be this big  I wouldn't have believed it,'  Hart said.

This tenacious comedian who is often the butt of "pocket sized" jokes is casting a really "big" shadow in Hollywood these days. Tinseltown is still buzzing about his standout performance in Steve Harvey's movie "Act like a Lady, Think Like A Man.                     

This summer he served up a few more laughs and raised a few eyebrows during his performance at the Essence Music Festival.  It would appear organizers who have long billed Essence as a weekend for “family reunions” weren't quite ready for the "R" rated version of Kevin Hart’s stand up routine.  Let’s face it, the guy cusses like a sailor.  It’s definitely not a show for children.
Kevin is no dummy, he knows when “take the polish off the shine”.  I remember Kevin Hart's humble beginnings on Myspace, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  He spent several years posting his standup routines on the internet.

Look at him now. Today Kevin Hart is considered one of Hollywood’s leading men, picking up a BET Award for “Best Actor.”  He is also hilarious as the new “pitchman” in those unforgettable Ford Explorer commercials.

Here's to this pint size comedian who is an awesome example of never giving up on your dream and always believing in yourself, despite your shortcoming.

Friday, July 20, 2012


(Pensacola, FL.)--"She's a fashionista with a view!" I'm not just talking about the spectacular sight of The Gulf of Mexico from her front door.  Rochell E. James truly has an "eye for fashion." Honestly, I think I'm safe in saying "she breathes it!"
Rochell E. James Fashion Expert and Consultant

She's more than an authority on the subject, Rochell E. James moved back to her hometown of Pensacola, Florida from London about a year ago.

Her time in the fashion houses in Europe only manifested her desire to dress the world in the latest "trends and couture!"  It only seems natural that she'd want to share that information with family and friends!

I've always been struck by her tenacity. In addition to spearheading a fashion magazine Rochell is a mother of two and speaks three different languages. This week I was also in awe of her statute, her presence in the room. Rochell has a "regal presence" that's simply hard to ignore.   

I'm glad I took the time to finally "press the flesh" in person with this young career woman who is living her dreams. It isn't everyday I meet someone with a vast knowledge of fashion houses in Europe.  

       Fashion Rack Filled With "Wardrobe Essentials"
Like me, she's a product of the Gulf Coast who longed for something more. Something that would ultimately lead her to chase her passion and "zeal for life" on the "other side of the pond."

Varion Walton and Rochell E. James

"House of James"--A Fashion House With A View

Thursday, July 19, 2012


(Viral Videos)--Every now and then we come across a viral video that's screams SHARE!  What an interesting take on a "necessary evil." I love this!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


(Tuscaloosa, AL.)  It's the kind of headline that forces you to do a double take.  17 people gunned down in a bar!  While you slept overnight investigators in Tuscaloosa were on the hunt for a "would be killer!" What's worse, parts of the incident were caught on tape!"

Investigators say a man shot into a crowd in the downtown area before walking to the Copper Top Bar and opening fire on 17 innocent bystanders, injuring 2 critically. Take a look at the AP photo taken from the scene.  Investigators released video overnight of what is believed to be surveillance video of the suspect in this case. Witnesses say the man never entered the building, he fired all of the shots from outside.

It's an area ravaged by storms and killer tornados, but nothing is hitting "T-Town" harder these days than the headlines of violent crimes involving guns. Check out Alabama's news leader WBRC-TV as they followed the details of this developing story overnight.  Prayers today for Tuscaloosa.

AP Photo

Thursday, July 12, 2012


(New Orleans, LA.)--He tells a story through his photographs.Those photographs truly come to life when he's "unleashed" on the red carpet!  His eye is keen, his sense of the glamour has him as one of the most sought after "celebrity photographers" of our time. Elpwe Ray aka "E" is the man "behind the camera" capturing a moment in time never to be forgotten.

Working as P. Music's house photographer, "E" had all access to R&B Singer Charlie Wilson and many other celebrities including The "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin at Essence Music Fest 2012.  Check out more of his work at


(New Orleans, LA.)  Comedian J. Anthony Brown was just one of the familiar faces in the Ernest Morial Convention Center this past weekend during the Essence Music Festival.  In addition to a brief "meet and greet" with fans of The Tom Joyner Morning Show,  J. Anthony Brown was also a special invited guest for the Empowerment Community Seminars.

Tom Joyner Morning Show J. Anthony Brown

After meeting with more than 500 screaming fans, "the morning show funny man" decided it was time to "rib" his convention neighbor R&B singer Charlie Wilson.  Wilson, who had a booth nearby was signing autographs and taking orders for his "Uncle Charlie Wilson" signature line of hats.   While the fedora is popular among the men,  J. Anthony Brown just couldn't pass up an opportunity to strut his stuff in a "wide brim" red floral hat.  He and Charlie shared a few laughs and posed for a few pictures.

I don't know if Charlie realized J. Anthony was serious about his selection. He thought it would definitely be "an ice breaker" each week in Tom Joyner's Red Velvet Room.   One word sums up this shot of the day..."hatitude", but in the worse way!  Great to chemistry between the two carries over in and outside of the studio.   

Grammy Award Winner  Charlie Wilson and Comedian J. Anthony Brown


(New Orleans, LA.)--She's the matriach of one of the most successful musical families in the industry.  During a rare appearance without her daughters, Evelyn Braxton appeared taken aback as she was greeted by a crush of fans at The Earnest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Mother to Grammy Award winning singer Toni Braxton, Evelyn Braxton wore her "Sunday Best" as she made an appearance at the "We Television" booth at the Empowerment Seminar held at the convention center.

Mother to four daughters who have had successful musical careers in their own right,  Evelyn Braxton has become equally popular following two successful seasons of "The Braxton Family Values" a reality show which appears on "WE TV".  

The "drama series" is one of the highest rated reality series on the network.  One things for certain, if the crowd in the convention center is any indication, this musical family which hails out of Baltimore will be giving fans more of what they love for a long time to come.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


(New Orleans, Louisiana)--It's your Party,Your Purpose and definitely The Place to Be!  Essence Music Fest 2012 featured some of the biggest names in music industry and "Vision/Voice/Varion" was your "ALL ACCESS BACKSTAGE PASS!"

Big thanks to Charlie Wilson's management, "P Music" and his featured house photographer Elpwe Ray aka "E" of Elpwe's Photography. You guys made my birthday weekend even more memorable!  Kevin Hart, Tisha Campbell, Faith Evans, VaShawn Mitchell were just a few celebrities to walk the red carpet.

Check it out as "E" captures me "hobnobbing" backstage with some of the biggest names in the industry including Aretha Franklin, Charlie Wilson, Anthony Hamilton and more!

Photos taken by Elpwe Ray aka "E" of Elpwe's Photography

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ESSENCE RECAP-FRIENDSHIP: Charlie Wilson and Marvin Winans

(New Orleans, LA.)  July 7, 2012--Talk about "sweet reunions!" I had the privilege of witnessing and capturing the reunion of two old friends.  R&B crooner Charlie Wilson headlined Essence Music Festival 2012.  In addition to three generations rocking out to his music, "Uncle Charlie" also met and personally greet thousands of fans eager to get their hands on his signature hats.  Much to Charlie's  surprise, that included the legendary Marvin Winans of the first family of "gospel music," The Winans. Both men, legends in their own right were humbled by the sweet reunion.  
Timeless is the one word that not only describes their careers, but their friendship!