September 7, 2008

A Whale of a Nautical Tale

Godfather of hip hop preaching in Suffolk

Former hip-hop-artist-turned-minister Kurtis Blow will be spreading his message, and possibly some lyrics, in Suffolk today.

Blow was the first of many things in rap, including becoming the first rapper signed to a major label, the first rapper to own a certified gold record, the first rapper to tour the United States and Europe, the first rapper in a video, the first rapper in a commercial, the first rapper in a soap opera and rap's first millionaire.

Yet, these days Blow says that his true purpose in life is to "be an ambassador for him (God) and help save the lives of young people that are being lead astray," according to a press release.

While the rap legend takes pride in adding rhyme to God's word and aims to introduce Jesus to youth who may not normally go to church, it's not just music with Blow. He also co-founded the Hip Hop Church. In his services, Blow will include gospel rap and sermons full of hip-hop lingo.

But he's not rapping, he's "ministering in song," Blow says, but in a way, he's still performing decades after pioneering the hip- hop scene. His last major label release was about 20 years ago, but since then he has had a career in radio, earned a second career talking about the earliest days of hip-hop, released less-acclaimed albums and appeared on a half dozen or more compilation and remix discs. God, he said, has always been with him.

Blow will be at the Tabernacle Christian Church, 2500 E. Washington St., Suffolk, today at 3 p.m. The event is free.

ake a young boy raised at sea in the belly of a talking whale. Add a crusty, retired pirate, an eight-legged, bone-crushing sea monster and a vengeful dock hag. Now, you have a new TV show, "Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack," which debuted in June on the Cartoon Network. The show captivates adult audiences with its quirky humor and vintage art style.

Thurop Van Orman, artist and creator of the cartoon adventure, grew up in Florida and Utah but was born in Norfolk, where he lived for the first month of his life. His animation career started in 1999 in video games.

Although he credits Jules Verne and other adventure writers for his love of the sea and adventures of his own, perhaps being born in nautical Norfolk affected Van Orman more than he realizes.

Van Orman developed the series as the continuing adventures of the boy, Flapjack. Flapjack was nurtured in the belly of the whale, Bubbie, but was coaxed out by the salty old sea dog, Captain K'nuckles, to search for the mythical Candied Island. But first, they have to deal with Peppermint Larry, the devious owner of the Candy Barrel, and Eight-Armed Willy, their rival to Candied Island.

According to Van Orman, who is also the voice of Flapjack, the adventurous main character has "inherited" many of his facial expressions from the artist's young son, Leif.

See for yourself every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on the Cartoon Network. Southern cookin' will help CHKD

Hey y'all! Paula Deen, the Food Network star and spokeswoman for Smithfield Foods, is bringing her homecookin' and philosophy of life to Norfolk's Ted Constant Convocation Center Saturday. Proceeds from her shows - 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. - will benefit Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

Deen claims she got the basics for cooking and life from her grandmother Paul. While she learned to make the perfect Southern meal in her grandmother's kitchen, she also learned the lessons that would get her through life's hard times.

In 1989, after losing her parents and going through a divorce, Deen took her two sons and $200 and moved from Albany, Ga., to Savannah, where she started a takeout lunch business called The Bag Lady.

From chicken salad and banana pudding, her career rose like a souffle to include restaurants, TV shows, books and a series of appearances across the country.

For tickets, which cost $60.50-$71.50, to the shows at ODU, call 888-3CoxTix.


jobs in Virginia are sustained by tourism. The Virginia Tourism Corp. estimates that visitors spend more than $17.7 billion annually, generating $1.2 billion in state and local taxes. 52

on Friday, Chesapeake's retired NASCAR ironman driver Ricky Rudd (right) was Rookie of the Year in 1977.

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