- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Poetry in motion

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.

The District’s Lamont Carey indeed will be in the spotlight on the latest installment of “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry 43,” airing at midnight tonight on HBO.

It’s not his first experience with the premium cable network, though.

The lifelong Southeast resident, 33, has been featured in various roles on “The Wire,” an acting gig he obtained after network suits saw a tape of his freestyle performance (poetry made up on the spot) in D.C.’s Hip-Hop Theater Festival. He also helped others get small roles on the acclaimed hit drama through his company, LaCarey Entertainment.

“HBO called and said they wanted me to perform, and I began writing about three months ago,” says the multitalented Mr. Carey, author of “Why I Keep U A Secret,” a heartfelt book filled with poems about love, relationships and life.

“I’m the luckiest man in the world,” Mr. Carey says of his HBO exposure.

He’s certainly one of the busiest.

Along with writing, acting and managing other aspiring artists, he also hosts a program (“Da Lamont Carey Show”) on Blogtalkradio.com and has toured the country performing at major festivals and humanitarian events, including AIDS Relief for Uganda.

Mr. Carey taped two original works (both are featured on his latest CD) for tonight’s HBO appearance: “Katrina: I Have Nothing,” a poem about the aftermath of the devastating 2005 storm; and “I Can’t Read,” his thought-provoking view of the educational system.

“It’s about how the school system keeps passing kids who are athletes — just so they can play sports,” he says.

Prior to the broadcast, locals can get up close and personal with the poetry man at tonight’s viewing party hosted by Council member-at-Large Kwame R. Brown at Martini’s Lounge, 1236 H St. NE. Festivities start at 9:30 p.m.

Fine designs

The only drawback to HGTV’s new “Color Splash” is that viewers may pay more attention to the physical attributes of its buff host, David Bromstad, than they do to his breathtaking interior designs.

You can decide for yourself when the show debuts with its pilot episode Sunday at 10 p.m.

Honchos at the cable network were impressed and already have signed him up for a 13-episode season after watching the first installment, reports the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.

“I didn’t know if (my work on the show) was going to be any good,” the chiseled Mr. Bromstad, 33, says. “I mean, I’m really confident in my skills, but you never know how it’s going to translate on camera.”

Viewers of HGTV’s “Design Star” got to know Mr. Bromstad last summer when he beat out a slew of other interior designers to claim the top prize — his own HGTV show (and a new car) — on the surprise reality hit.

“He was the one that I picked out from the moment I first saw him (on “Design Star”),” says Joan Steffend, host of one of HGTV’s longest-running shows, “Decorating Cents.” “He has the ability to be vulnerable and the ability to be himself. And he looks good without a shirt,” she says with a laugh.

Born in Minnesota, Mr. Bromstad, a self-proclaimed outcast, migrated south to Florida with his family when he was in middle school. At the same time, he also developed a strong notion of what he wanted to be when he grew up: a Disney animator. That dream led him to the Ringling School of Arts and Design in Sarasota, Fla. After graduating, he headed to Orlando to work as an illustrator at Disney.

But the design bug had bitten him, and Mr. Bromstad soon found an interesting niche in a town anchored by a child-friendly theme park: designing, fabricating and installing “fantasy children’s rooms.”

He says he “absolutely loved doing that” but was barely making ends meet. When an opportunity to try out for “Design Star” arose, Mr. Bromstad jumped at it.

Winning was one thing, but finding a focus for the show was another matter. He and the producers decided to cocentrate on “the root of great design” — color.

Yet transforming drab spaces into vibrant showcases won’t be the program’s only must-see aspect. The ebullient host is quite a sight himself. His sculpted physique is often on vivid display, thanks to his penchant for wearing sleeveless shirts or none at all.

“I’ve lived in Florida for 14 years, and I’ve gotten into the custom of when I’m warm, I take my shirt off,” Mr. Bromstad says. “That’s who I am. I guess it doesn’t hurt that I’m in shape.”

All aboard

The 21st annual Soul Train Awards were handed out last weekend in Los Angeles, and you can see all the goings-on tomorrow at 8 p.m. when the CW broadcasts the big event.

Omarion and LeToya share hosting duties. Robin Thicke, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri and the Isley Brothers are among the superstar performers.

Among the night’s big winners: Mary J. Blige and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx (best R&B soul albums for male and female, respectively); John Legend (best R&B soul single male for “Save Room”); Beyonce (best R&B soul single female for “Irreplaceable”); and Gnarls Barkley (best R&B soul single, group, band or duo for “Crazy”).

And the hot streak continues for Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, who claims the 2007 Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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