Saturday, May 30, 2009

Planet Earth Forever: The Secret and The Law of Attraction

I think the quality of this video is exceptional. It brings an appreciation for the earth, as well as a reminder that we all share the earth. It brings with it a sense of connectedness--that none of us are separate. What happens to a person affects us all; what happens to the earth, or any of its inhabitants, affects us all. In knowing this, we can address our thoughts and the result of our thoughts (or lack, thereof). Thoughts manifest themselves in one way or another, so in being consciously aware of what we think, we can assert some control over our own thoughts. In exercising control, we can master our own lives.

In mastering our own lives, we can be grateful with the benefits we reap. In being grateful, we can attract more gratitude, as well as pass it on to others. There are no limits to what we can do as individuals, and/or collectively. The world is changing and it is because of so many who are ready for a shift in consciousness. The world is ready and the world needs us; the earth needs us. Only we can make a difference. It's a beautiful world, it's a beautiful life, though parts of the world still suffers. Perhaps through each part of this intricate web of humanity, it is possible to create countless and boundless ripple effects which may transmit to those parts of the world, the earth, which are suffering as I type this.

Watch the video - it alone is worth the couple of minutes. To be able to appreciate the beauty and splendor, please consider visiting The Secret website - you can view the video on a full screen and it's free. Thanks for reading. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tennessee Williams and A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire:
Tennessee Williams’ Life and Influence

Tennessee Williams, born Thomas Lanier Williams III, was one of the more prominent playwrights of the 20th Century. He was born March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, and spent 53 years of his life actively contributing to the literary world. He lived all over the South in his youth, including Knoxville, Tennessee, which is when he changed his name. In 1939 Williams moved to New Orleans which would be the setting for one of his most well-known works, Pulitzer Prize-winning A Streetcar Named Desire. Williams’ family influenced his writing, as well as his changing social status and environment when he was a child, and this influence reflected through the characters of Stanley, Blanche, and Stella (Boxill 2).

Williams’ father, Cornelius Williams, was a traveling salesman who was also a violent alcoholic. In A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski personifies Cornelius Williams through his drunken and brutish behavior. Elia Kazan, directed the award-winning 1947 screenplay, in which Marlon Brando portrayed Stanley: “There’s something subhuman about him. Thousands of years have passed him right by and there he is. Stanley Kowalski, survivor of the stone age, bearing raw meat home from the kill in the jungle” (Williams 72). In his introduction, Williams describes how writing A Streetcar Named Desire healed him:

It is only in his work that an artist can find reality and satisfaction, for the actual world is less intense than the world of his invention and consequently his life, without recourse to violent disorder, does not seem very substantial. The right condition for him is that in which his work is not only convenient but unavoidable (3).

In addition to Cornelius Williams’ influence for Stanley’s character, Williams’ best friend and coworker’s name was Stanley Kowalski. The friend of Williams was also attractive to women.

Williams’ mother, Edwina, was reportedly “repressed and genteel, very much the southern belle in her youth” (Baym 2334). Alcoholic rage was prevalent in Williams’ youth, and as a drunken Stanley would beat Stella, Cornelius would beat Edwina. As a result, Williams suffered and would turn to his older, emotionally fragile sister, Rose. Edwina inspired both female characters of Blanche and Stella--Stella, the nurturing co-dependent, enabling wife, and Blanche, who bounced back and forth between fantasy and reality. Rose was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age and ultimately institutionalized. Shortly after being committed, her parents authorized a prefrontal lobotomy. Tennessee never forgave his parents (2334), nor did he forgive himself. He suffered from paranoia, guilt, and depression (Eisen).

Williams endured a painful childhood with the emotional loss of support from his sister and damaging atmosphere of living with an alcoholic. In addition to the dysfunction in his family, “the decline of the Williams family from prominence among the early settlers of Tennessee mirrors the fate of the South. The playwright’s own upbringing seemed to him a still greater fall” (Boxill 2). Writing saved Tennessee from plunging into madness and always seemed to reflect “[the] sadness of life inherent in the course of eroding time…” (3). Blanche’s character represented Tennessee’s fall from the nostalgic Old South, such as when the reader learns that there is no longer a Belle Reve. His own grandfather “squandered the family fortune in unsuccessful campaigns for governor, and the old Williams residence in Knoxville was turned into an orphanage” (7).

According to critic Harold Bloom, A Streetcar Named Desire “is the secret dynamic of what is surely Williams's masterwork… It is, inevitably, more remarkable on the stage than in the study, but the fusion of Williams's lyrical and dramatic talents in it has prevailed over time, at least so far” (Bloom). He further illustrates “that Blanche's only strengths are ‘nostalgia and hope,’ that she is the desperate exceptional woman,’ and that her fall is a parable, rather than an isolated squalor” (Bloom). Blanche demonstrates her remarkable strengths in her confrontation to Stella about Stanley:

Maybe he'll strike you or maybe grunt and kiss you! That is, if kisses have been discovered yet! Night falls and the other apes gather! There in the front of the cave, all grunting like him, and swilling and gnawing and hulking! His poker night!--you call it--this party of apes! Somebody growls--some creature snatches at something--the fight is on! God! Maybe we are a long way from being made in God's image, but Stella--my sister--there has been some progress since then! Such things as art--as poetry and music--such kinds of new light have come into the world since then! In some kinds of people some tenderer feelings have had some little beginning! That we have got to make grow! And cling to, and hold as our flag! In this dark march toward whatever it is we're approaching. . . . Don't--don't hang back with the brutes! (Williams).

Williams died February 24, 1983, at the age of 71. Despite his dysfunctional upbringing, he was able to express, with poetic style, the realism which many Americans would find. Williams’ timeless artistry speaks to everyone when he speaks of “compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive—that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims” (Williams 4).

Works Cited

Baym, Nina, ed. “Tennessee Williams: 1911-1983.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2008. 2334-2336.

Bloom, Harold. "Introduction." Modern Critical Views: Tennessee Williams. Ed. Harold Bloom Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. 1-8. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter and Deborah A. Schmitt. Vol. 111. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999. 1-8. Literature Resource Center. Gale. 20 Nov. 2008

Boxill, Roger. Modern Dramatists: Tennessee Williams. New York: St. Martin’s Press, Inc. 1987. 2-20.

Eisen, Kurt. Reviewed work(s): Tennessee Williams: Everyone Else is an Audience. by Ronald Hayman. American Literature, Vol. 66, No. 4 (Dec., 1994), pp. 860-861. Published by: Duke University Press. Stable URL:

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: Signet, 1975. 1-4, 72.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Childhood Summers in Florida


Summers in Florida

I don’t know why I remember something so uneventful as sitting on Aunt Effie’s
screened-in front porch at dusk. The damp evenings were almost as warm as the days. Thank
goodness the porch was screened in; otherwise, without that protection from the mosquitos, my
sister and I may have been eaten alive as we slept.

Rocking chairs, the old-fashioned kind with the high backs and enough room in the seat,
perpendicularly lined two sides of Aunt Effie’s house. My sister Shari and I had so much fun
listening to her talk with Mima, my grandmother. Mima used to smoke and I would get so
mesmerized by the “trail” of light the lit end would create. Between Mima’s trail of light,
listening to the high-pitched little voice my 4’11” Aunt Effie, the sounds of the crickets, and the
light show that the fireflies gave us, Shari and I were always entertained.
Every now and then my mother would speak but mostly she would listen. I’m sure that
she was thinking about her father, my grandfather and brother of Aunt Effie. I barely
remember him because I was only three when his ship disappeared. I do remember the last
time that I saw him, though. Mima drove us all to the Port of Beaumont where his ship, the
Sulphur Queen, was docked. I later found out that he was supposed to be on leave but filled in
for a fellow mate who had taken ill. The ship was enormous! My mother and Uncle Buddy
walked with my grandfather onto the ship while Shari and I stayed in the parking lot with
Mima—she could not bear to say goodbye so she never went onto the ship. It seemed like we
were there a long time, just waiting.
Mom was a Daddy’s Girl from what I understand. She has a gentle, quiet soul, a typically
sensitive artist. Losing her father and divorcing her husband, especially at such a young age, had
to have been almost too much to emotionally handle. Southern women were different back then
because their lives always seemed to cater to their husbands and taking care of their children.
However, she was determined to finish her Master’s Degree in English and when that happened,
she packed the three of us up and moved us out west to Tucson in the summer of 1966. That
was the beginning of my “wonder years.”

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Shakespeare in Love - "It's a Mystery"


"Shakespeare in Love" review

YouTube is selective about which videos are reproduced, so this video selection was not my first choice!

In John Madden’s film Shakespeare in Love, the idea of Gwenyth Paltrow convincingly dressing like a man may unbelievable. However, as the story to unfolds, many seemingly implausible components of the film coalesce, creating a plausible vision of Shakespeare’s life. In conjunction with playwright Tom Stoppard, Maddon creates a successful love story between William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow). The interplay of fact, fantasy, humor, and allusion create a portrait of Shakespeare and his environs.
In Shakespeare in Love, Madden blends fact and fantasy with the characters in the film. Such characters as Christopher Marlowe, Philip Henslowe, Will Kempe, John Hemings, Augustine Philips, and Richard Burbage were all characters in William Shakespeare’s life.

In the movie, the roles they played in Shakespeare’s life are altered to further the plot. One example is Philip Henslowe, who was in debt to loan shark Hugh Fennyman. In exchange for a partnership in the comedy "Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate’s Daughter", Henslowe is able to absolve himself of his debt because he is sure the comedy will be a hit. Henslowe was unaware that the play would be renamed Romeo and Juliet, and would end in a tragedy. The ensemble of characters in the story worked together to create something extraordinary.

Shakespeare maintains undertones of comedy in Romeo and Juliet, such as the character of the Nurse. Stoppard and Maddon retain the same undertones, and inject present-day humor in Shakespeare in Love. The presence of a coffee mug marked “A present from Stratford-on-Avon” gives the viewer the first clue to many other humorous subtleties to come. Madden brings smiles to viewers when Shakespeare jumps into the ferry and says “Follow that boat!”; and the often said phrase, “It’s a mystery,” keeps the unique lighthearted feeling alive as the audience compares the parallel plots of Shakespeare in Love and Romeo and Juliet.

The parallel plots uniquely endear William Shakespeare to the viewers. Initially, as the film establishes its own plot, Madden uses fact, fantasy and humor to captivate the audience. As Gwyneth Paltrow’s character disguises herself as Thomas Kent, romantic comedy emerges. The clever allusion to Romeo and Juliet within the plot of the actual film delights the fans. For example, Will and Viola are making love and reciting the lines from Romeo and Juliet, lines which Will includes in his current play. The film volleys back and forth between Will and Viola to characters, Romeo and Juliet.

John Madden’s Shakespeare in Love not only demonstrates how the interplay of fact, fantasy, humor, and allusion create a portrait of Shakespeare and his environs, but enthralls the audience. The successful love story of Romeo and Juliet haunts the minds of most Shakespeare fans, and finds ways into the hearts of viewers everywhere, through Shakespeare in Love.

Work Cited
Shakespeare in Love. Dir. John Madden. Perf. Gweneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Ruch, Colin Firth, and Ben Affleck. Videocassette. Miramax, 1998.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Northern Ireland on alert for smuggled bomb

I borrowed this article from the Christian Science Monitor website. I just think it's so important, and also very sad, that this is happening again.


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Northern Ireland tense as officials hunt for smuggled bomb
Ireland unites in protest against violence as police begin crackdown on dissident groups.
By Jason Walsh 03.12.09
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DUBLIN, Ireland – A security alert has been issued today in the Northern Ireland town of Ballykinler, the site of a British Army base.

The Ballykinler base in County Down is one of several feared targets of dissident republicans intent on reigniting Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” – a three-decade long conflict between Irish republicans and Britain. Despite widespread condemnation of the dissident activity, many fear the attacks are being stepped-up in order to destabilize Northern Irish society.

A joint operation now underway by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Garda Síochána, the Republic of Ireland’s police, seeks to uncover a bomb believed to have been smuggled into Northern Ireland by a dissident republican group calling itself the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), which claimed responsibility for killing two British soldiers Saturday.
The bomb alert follows a report in London’s Guardian newspaper that stated security forces are scouring the country after receiving intelligence reports that the RIRA has smuggled a large bomb into Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland.

Guardian correspondent Henry MacDonald says the alert has been at “red light level” since Monday. “The evidence is on the streets and roads – there are checkpoints in South Down and South Armagh.”

Security has been tightened on the largely open and unpatrolled 224-mile border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, according to media reports.

A PSNI spokesperson said that they do not discuss operational matters. The Garda Síochána also declined to comment.

The bomb scare comes as heads of Ireland’s two police forces are set to meet in Belfast today to discuss the recent violence by dissidents. Police chiefs Hugh Orde and Fachtna Murphy will assess the security threat posed by the emboldened groups still opposed to the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accord.

Northern Ireland remains tense after a recent spate of shootings in which three people – two soldiers and a police officer – were killed. The soldiers were shot by the RIRA in Antrim on on March 7, the Monitor reported here. Two days later, we reported on the killing of a police officer by another breakaway group called the Continuity IRA. The two attacks are being treated as unrelated by the authorities. Mr. Orde said reports of a connection were “speculation.”
Four people were also injured in the Antrim attack, including two pizza delivery men. Two men were arrested in connection with the shooting of Constable Carroll in Craigavon on Tuesday.
The surge in violence follows more than a decade of relative calm on the streets of Northern Ireland.

Police have denied there are plans to release security camera footage of the attacks on Massarene barracks in Antrim.

An interview with the family of murdered PSNI officer, Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, was carried out by local television on Wednesday evening and will be released to the media Thursday night. Constable Carroll will be buried tomorrow in his hometown of Banbridge in County Down.
The sudden outbreak of violence has been met with widespread revulsion across Northern Ireland’s divided Roman Catholic and Protestant communities. Political leaders from all sides have condemned the attacks, including Sinn Féin, the party linked to the now disarmed Provisional IRA, the main republican player in Northern Ireland’s 30-year “Troubles.”

As the Monitor reported Thursday, more than 10,000 people gathered in Belfast Wednesday to hold a rally demanding an end to dissident violence.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Attempts to Negotiate Peace After Bloodshed in Northern Ireland


ANTRIM, Northern Ireland – It may not be over yet as leaders of Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant government pledged to keep the peace Sunday, after Irish Republican Army dissidents fatally shot two off-duty British soldiers meeting pizza delivery men at a barracks entrance.

Police said the gunmen opened fire from a car outside the base, then shot at least some victims at close range as they lay on the ground. The bloodshed is all too familiar when we learned of four UK soldiers being hit with two fatalities. Also shot were the two delivery men, a local teenager who was seriously wounded, and a 32-year-old Polish immigrant who remained in critical condition Sunday night.

The Sunday Tribune newspaper said it received a claim of responsibility in a phone call from a man claiming to represent the Real IRA splinter group. The paper said the caller, who used a code word to verify he was a spokesman for the outlawed gang, defended the shooting and described the Domino's Pizza workers as "collaborators of British rule in Ireland."

The Real IRA was responsible for the deadliest terror attack in Northern Ireland history: a 1998 car-bombing of the town of Omagh that killed 29 people, mostly women and children.
The senior Catholic in the power-sharing coalition, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, said dissidents were trying to rekindle sectarian bloodshed and force Britain to resume sterner security policies.

The IRA killed nearly 1,800 people from 1970 to 1997 in a failed effort to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into the Republic of Ireland. The IRA disarmed and renounced violence in 2005, but splinter groups using a wide range of labels have tried to continue the campaign.
Dana's Muse

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Your Soft Place


The world won't stop spinning
even though it stands still
in moments I have to share
with you

Working through the days
of embittered pasts, I am here
as my time stands still
for you

I am soft in many ways
you can lay your head down
I will stroke it, quietly,
for you

You may want to know I can be
your soft place to fall in the days
when everything seems to be
against you

Cradling your heart in my palm
I will be your soft place to fall
wherever you may go I am here
for you

Through smiles, making love
through strife and discord
I can be the soft place to fall
for you

the night is so quiet
except for the whispering wind
tickling the windchimes
tantalizing my mood
looking up to the celestial garden
knowing that the stars which shine
also shine for you
attempting to catch one that falls
across the sky into my hand
lighting my life
with a momentary glimpse
of what is to come
making me smile through the dark
so that I may be a light
softening blows in a mortal world
and I could be your soft place
wanting to feel you there
as you land in my arms
your soft place
for a time such as this
knowing whatever may come
it will be all right
as I pillow your fall into the night
that you may remove your mask
if only for a little while
and maybe I can be your soft place
your soft place to fall
when all else seems to fail
as I am so very soft
in many ways

Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 OSCAR-NOMINATED FILMS LIST: "And the Oscar goes to...!"

Best Picture
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
'The Reader'
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Best Director

Danny Boyle 'Slumdog Millionaire'
Stephen Daldry 'The Reader'
David Fincher 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Ron Howard 'Frost/Nixon'
Gus Van Sant 'Milk'
Best Actor
Richard Jenkins 'The Visitor'
Frank Langella 'Frost/Nixon'
Sean Penn 'Milk'
Brad Pitt 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Mickey Rourke 'The Wrestler'
Best Actress
Anne Hathaway 'Rachel Getting Married'
Angelina Jolie 'Changeling'
Melissa Leo 'Frozen River'
Meryl Streep 'Doubt'
Kate Winslet 'The Reader'
Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin 'Milk'
Robert Downey Jr. 'Tropic Thunder'
Philip Seymour Hoffman 'Doubt'
Heath Ledger 'The Dark Knight'
Michael Shannon 'Revolutionary Road'
Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams 'Doubt'
Penelope Cruz 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'
Viola Davis 'Doubt'
Taraji P. Henson 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Marisa Tomei 'The Wrestler'
Best Animated Feature Film
'Kung Fu Panda'
Best Foreign Film

'The Baader Meinhof Complex'
'The Class'
'Waltz With Bashir'
Best Original Screenplay
Dustin Lance Black
'Frozen River'
Courtney Hunt
'Happy Go Lucky'
Mike Leigh
'In Bruges'
Martin McDonagh
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter
Best Adapted Screenplay
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
John Patrick Shanley
'Frost/ Nixon'
Peter Morgan
'The Reader'
David Hare
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Simon Beaufoy
Best Documentary Feature
'The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)'
'Encounters at the End of the World'
'The Garden'
'Man on Wire'
'Trouble the Water'
Best Original Score
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Best Original Song
'Down to Earth''WALL-E'
'Jai Ho''Slumdog Millionaire'
'O Saya''Slumdog Millionaire'
Best Film Editing
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
'The Dark Knight'
Lee Smith
Mike Hill, Dan Hanley
Elliot Graham
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Chris Dickens
Best Documentary - Short Subject
'The Conscience of Nhem En'
'The Final Inch'
'Smile Pinki'
'The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306'
Best Cinematography
Tom Stern
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Claudio Miranda
'The Dark Knight'
Wally Pfister
'The Reader'
Chris Menges, Roger Deakins
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Anthony Dod Mantle
Best Costume Design
Catherine Martin
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Jacqueline West
'The Duchess'
Michael O'Connor
Danny Glicker
'Revolutionary Road'
Albert Wolsky
Best Sound Mixing
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten
'The Dark Knight'
Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt
Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt
Best Sound Editing
'The Dark Knight'
Richard King
'Iron Man'
Frank Eulner, Christopher Boyes
'Slumdog Millionaire'
Tom Sayers
Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood
Wylie Stateman
Best Live Action Short Film
'Auf der Strecke (On the Line)'
'Manon on the Asphalt'
'New Boy'
'The Pig'
'Spielzeugland (Toyland)'
Best Animated Short Film
'La Maison de Petits Cubes'
'Lavatory - Lovestory'
'This Way Up'
Best Makeup
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Greg Cannom
'The Dark Knight'
John Caglione, Jr., Conor O'Sullivan
'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'
Mike Elizalde, Thom Flout
Best Art Direction
James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
'The Dark Knight'
Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
'The Duchess'
Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
'Revolutionary Road'
Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt
Best Visual Effects
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
'The Dark Knight'
Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin
'Iron Man'
John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan

Sunday, February 15, 2009



Caught between the worlds
never really knowing
what is on either side
treading, lightly balancing
loving into the night
and having it shattered
by the cruel light of day

Some dreams are softly spoken
Others, nightmares running rampant
constant struggles
one with the other

and which is real?

never really knowing

what goes on inside of either world

The night's calming sighs
caress the soul as it aches
igniting the heart with faith
The day is full with reality

While balancing the two
seems almost impossible to do

I dream the nights away

and they overflow into days

The day is beautiful
as the Spring draws nearer
displaying life more evident
as the flowers begin to bloom

It touches my heart in a way
that causes me to believe
in the beauty of the world
filling me with ample gratitude
full with the gift

I cannot ignore

and yet
The night brings passion
causing me to hunger

And I am caught in between
never really knowing
what goes on in either world

Who was once a love
may not seem to be
as the light of day shines

and yet
Who was not known as love
may appear within the day's light
from a common place
the night before

Duality of nature
comes knocking at my door

and will continue to knock

until I answer

However vague it seems
Faith does get me through
what passion motivates me to do

And oh, I am

so very grateful

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jennifer Hudson-2009 Grammy Awards

Jennifer Hudson sang an unforgettable performance tonight at the February 8, 2009, 51st Annual Grammy Awards. Her presence at this event was bittersweet, as was her gift of the National Anthem at the 2009 Superbowl. She delivered a spectacular rendition of the Star Spangled Banner through her sadness of dealing with the loss of her family.

A tearful Jennifer Hudson won her first Grammy, thanking her family "in heaven and those who are with me today" to kick off an evening already stoked with drama when police said they were investigating double nominee Chris Brown for an alleged assault on an unidentified woman.

Brown and long-time girlfriend Rihanna, each nominated and slated to perform, separately dropped out of the Grammys at the last minute and their whereabouts were not immediately known Sunday night. The victim of Brown's alleged assault wasn't identified, and it wasn't immediately clear whether Rihanna's absence was related to Brown's.

Hudson, 27, made no direct reference to the killings of her mother, brother and nephew that kept her in seclusion until just this month. But while fighting back tears, she made it clear that her family was foremost on her mind.

"I first would like to thank God who has brought me through," said Hudson, also an Oscar winner, as she accepted her award Whitney Houston. "I would like to thank my family in heaven and those who are with me today."

Hudson later performed "You Pulled Me Through," a typically strong vocal performance that ended in tears. While Hudson's emotion was front and center, her performance was moving and unforgettable.