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Author: courtesy of Colette GreensteinRaphael Saadiq and his band perform live on Saturday, February 11, 2012, at the House of Blues to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay.

February Madness…

I received an exclusive invitation to look at The Charles Hotel’s Corbu Spa and Salon. I’m so glad I went. After a long day I was looking to de-stress and the evening at Corbu provided just that opportunity.

Not having a chance to grab a bite to eat before the event, I was ravished. When hors d’oeuvres were passed around I tried out the offerings from chef Peter Davis and was thoroughly replenished. Noir provided seasonal cocktails for the party as I toured the salon and spa. The evening was capped with complimentary hand massages and samples of handmade body scrubs and lotions. Corbu is a sanctuary in the heart of Harvard Square to unwind, relax and renew before tackling the world.

“Big Night 2.0: Rock the Casbah”

The Moroccan-themed fundraiser for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay was an awesome event!

The gala took over all three floors at the House of Blues. The Foundation Room was packed and the place was hopping! There were food stations open all night provided by nationally renowned chef Michael Schlow (executive chef and owner of Radius, Via Matta and Alta Strada restaurants). His butternut squash lasagna was delicious!      

I was really excited about attending the private acoustic set by Raphael Saadiq in the Foundation Room. After the private set, Saadiq then played for the crowd at the House of Blues, which was followed by a live performance by the Counting Crows.

KISS 108’s Billy Costa from “Matty in the Morning” emceed the gala and his co-host was comedian Lenny Clarke, who stars in the NBC sitcom, “Are You There, Chelsea?” It was a great event with plenty of action, food, drink and music.

“We the Party: A Family Affair”

I recently flew in from the Los Angeles premiere of Mario Van Peebles’ new flick “We the Party” with my colleagues, Lisa Simmons and Delilah Dasilva, from the Roxbury International Film Festival (RIFF). We headed out to the Left Coast to celebrate the dual screening of Mario’s new film both in Boston and in L.A., and the collaboration between RIFF and the Pan African Film and Arts Festival.

Celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year, The Pan African Film and Arts Festival held the majority of their screenings, panels and workshops at the Rave Cinemas at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. On the night of the premiere, the theatre was buzzing with so many attendees, celebrities, fans and moviegoers alike. Over the three days that we were there, we ran into David Oyelowo (Who knew that he was British?), who currently stars in George Lucas’ “Red Tails.” Oyelowo was there doing a QandA after the “Red Tails” screening and was accompanied by his two adorable young sons.

We also ran into acclaimed director Kenny Leon (“Stick Fly” and “Fences), Haitian-born actor Jimmy Jean-Louis (from the NBC TV series “Heroes”), and for all my General Hospital fans…Sean Blakemore who plays ‘Shawn Butler’ on the daytime soap. What a good-looking guy!

The cast of “We the Party” (including four of Mario’s children who are all in the movie), descended on the red carpet and all you could see were flashes of light from all the photographers aiming to get shots of Mario, Tiny Lister (‘Deebo’ from the Friday movies), and Michael Jai White (“Why Did I Get Married?” and “Black Dynamite”).

A nice surprise on the red carpet was Ja’Net DuBois (‘Willona’ from Good Times and co-founder of PAFF). She looked gorgeous! And, last not but least, CNN political pundit Roland Martin visible on the carpet in his tan suit complemented with a hot pink shirt and ascot. That was all outside the theater. Inside was Salli Richardson-Whitfield and her handsome husband Dondre Whitfield, Glynn Turman (from the movie “Takers”) YG, members of The New Boyz, The Rej3ctz, and the Pink Dollaz.

While we were at the red carpet premiere, we Skyped Mario to introduce the Boston premiere of “We the Party” to the audience at UMass Boston’s Campus Center, and then he did a post-screening QandA along with his son Mandela, who is a natural on screen. It was a fantastic night followed by the after party inside the Baldwin Hills mall.

Kudos to Pan African on a great film festival and to the RIFF volunteers, Verizon Wireless, and UMass Boston’s Black Faculty and Staff Association for making the Boston screening a huge success!

Coming up…

Tonight (Feb. 23rd) the House of Blues presents Lauryn Hill at 7 p.m.

Tyga brings his “Careless World Tour” to The Wilbur on March 1st.

Also at the Wilbur, Sheryl Underwood from the daytime yak fest “The Talk” performs stand-up comedy on Friday, March 2nd.

On Saturday, March 17th, World Music/CRASHarts presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge at 8 p.m.

If you would like me to cover or write about your event, email me at inthemixwithcolette@gmail.com.