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Singled Out: Everybody has a Mother 

Thursday, May 15 2003
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Suge appeared onstage, turned out in dark glasses, gold suit, white shirt and gold tie. His bald head and full beard made him look strangely Hasidic. “I’d like to thank God for all we do here,” he said. “And I’d like to take a little time out, everybody, to turn to their mother and say, ‘Happy Mother’s Day.’”

From the room, in unison, came a loud “Happy Mother’s Day!”

“Tell ’em you love ’em,” Suge said. “For single mothers, you got to really, really appreciate ’em. I want the kids to understand Mama’s doing the job of mommy and daddy — appreciate that.”

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The rapper Eastwood nodded in agreement from the crowd. He was dressed all in white with an enormous electric-chair pendant — emblem of Tha Row — swinging from a leash-sized chain around his neck. He showed off his 10-month-old daughter, Imani, asleep in the arms of his child’s mother, which is how Eastwood introduced the woman. “Yes, she is a single mom,” he said, shrugging, as if the matter were entirely beyond his control. “They all independent, single mothers,” he said, taking in the whole room with a wave of his arm. “You got to respect that.”

Then the music began with an a cappella rendition of “Our Father” (an odd choice for Mother’s Day) followed by a polished performance by oldster George Duke that was abruptly cut off, Academy Awards–style. It was the first glimpse of Suge’s not-so-subtle stage managing, which became even more blatant moments later when he heckled Michael Blade, the leader of the backup band. Blade had paused to appreciate Duke’s performance and introduce himself and his band, which consisted of several horn players, a drummer and a rhythm guitarist. An unseen, microphoned voice cut in. “Stop talking and start playing.” Blade shut up.

Moments later Suge, flanked by several bodyguards, began working the room. Dozens of women and children pressed in. He smiled and hugged, smiled and hugged, navigating through the crowd by turning his impossibly broad shoulders first, like the mast of a ship. Sweat poured from his head. He swiped at it with his hand, then grabbed a napkin and wiped himself dry.

Back onstage he puffed defiantly on a cigar — hotel employees tsking from a distance — and observed as his rappers performed Mother’s Day–appropriate numbers.

Maxine Knight got up from her table and walked toward her son. Suge, looming over her from the stage, squatted down and wrapped her in a tight embrace.

—Sara Catania

Office Cleaning: Dawson’s Tchotchkes

 

The number-one rule of television writing is DO NOT DECORATE YOUR OFFICE. Don’t hang things on the walls. Don’t bring in books, tchotchkes, pictures of loved ones. You will only strain your back carrying them out to the car when you get canceled. And you will get canceled. Or fired.

So in the summer of 1999, when I was hired as a writer on the WB’s seminal teen drama Dawson’s Creek for the start of its third season, I tried my best to follow this rule. Somewhere around season five, though, my resistance began to falter. It wasn’t my fault really. No one told me what to do if you didn’t get canceled. Or fired.

Of course, everyone gets canceled eventually. This week the last-ever episode of Dawson’s Creek aired. And now I’m hoping that the kid in Canada some fan recently sent me an e-mail about — the one who stopped eating when he heard that Joey’s not going to end up with the guy he wants her to — well, I’m hoping that the kid goes to Dairy Queen. And then maybe after he’s gotten his strength back . . . if he’s up for a little vacation . . . he could come help me clean out my office.

What follows is a partial inventory of items that have mysteriously accrued to me during my four-year tenure on Dawson’s Creek:

• One XXL Hanes Heavyweight
50/50 cotton-poly-blend T-shirt sent to me jointly by two Web-based fan groups, operationdaisy.org and projectsoulmates.org. Although I would be hard-pressed to tell you their exact operating principles and/or doctrinal differences, both these groups seem to be devoted to the idea that the fictional characters Dawson (played by James Van Der Beek) and Joey (played by Katie Holmes) are soul mates who should be together now and for all eternity. But preferably now. The front of this T-shirt reads, “For those who believe in eternal love, no explanation is necessary . . . for those who do not, no explanation is possible.” The back lists the “Top 10 Reasons We Love Dawson & Joey” (Because they are magic, pure magic. Because loves ends. And begins again). This item is definitely a keeper: I find that when I wear it to the gym no one ever — ever — talks to me.

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