Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

April 26, 2013 Leave a comment


William Friedkin was on his book tour, ‘The Friedkin Connection’ and had about a 60 minute talk concerning some of the stories in the book.  He is the Academy Award-winning director of films including The French Connection, The Exorcist and To Live and Die in LA.

“Mr. Friedkin, maverick of American cinema, offers a candid look at Hollywood, when traditional storytelling gave way to the rebellious and alternative; when filmmakers like him captured the paranoia and fear of a nation undergoing a cultural nervous breakdown.”

He started the evening by returning a book he borrowed from the Chicago Public Library in 1951.  He said he would be willing to pay the fee which may cover the cost of an additional wing to the library.  He is from Chicago and enjoys returning when time permits.  

His stories concerning “The French Connection” and working with Hollywood Bureaucracy were funny and informational.  I am looking forward to checking out his book from the library in the near future.

On The Line / La Llamada

April 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Director David Nieto Wenzell explores the demands a single parent and her child faces in this hyper-connected age. This film from Ecuador begins with a phone call informing Aurora that her 14-year-old son will be expelled from school. A series of complications get in her way to be with her son.

On The Line was an enjoyable 76 minutes, which contained a couple predictable parts. The mother was the most interesting character to me. It is worth renting! The worst part of the show was that it started 15 minutes late.

This film was shown at St. Augustine College and will be shown at other venues as part of the 29th Chicago Latino Festival. I liked The Venue Partners program of the festival “which allows community embers to view films that are otherwise inaccessible.” For more information on the Latino Film Festival, check out the website –

“The Repatriation of the Freed Captives” (1939) by Hale Woodruff

March 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Recently, I saw in the Chicago Reader that they recommended “Rising Up:Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College” being shown at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, through June 16, 2013. Then I saw a few advertisements for it at a few bus stops throughout the downtown area. I never heard of Hale Woodruff before but I liked the colors in the art work and wanted to see more.

After work Good Friday, I went to check out the showing. The murals hung alongside smaller paintings and prints by Hale Aspacio Woodruff. I learned that he was born in Cairo, Illinois in 1900 and was raised in Tennessee. He moved to Paris. In 1931, he returned from France to establish the first art school for African-Americans in the South-east at Atlanta University. Hale Woodruff died in 1980.

I liked his “vibrant’ murals more than his other artwork in the room. Based on what I saw, I will try to learn more about Mr. Woodruff and the stories behind his artwork.

From Cuba to Chicago: Pedro Páramo and Havana Blue

March 16, 2013 1 comment

From Cuba to Chicago: Pedro Páramo and Havana Blue was a panel discussion about artistic exchange with Cuba I attended March 14th at Instituto Cervantes.  Even though it was difficult to hear some of the discussion, I enjoyed the evening. 

Most of the Americans on the panel found their trips to Cuba to be a transformative experience professionally and personally.  It was also interesting to hear how the preconceived notion of rehearsal time was different between the Americans and Cubans.  Americans were ‘ok we have about three months to get a rough draft of this collaboration.’  Cubans are known to take years to research/rehearse a project.

Havana Blue is a co-commission between Auditorium Theatre, River North Dance Chicago and Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.  Pedro Páramo is presented by Goodman Theatre in association with MCA Chicago.

Panelists were Raquel Carrió, Playwright for Cuba’s Teatro Buendia; Frank Chaves, Artistic Director of River North Dance Chicago; Obert Davis, Artistic director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic; Henry Godinez, Resident Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre; Flora Lautėn, Artistic Director of Cuba’s Teatro Buendia; Moderator Tony Sarabia from WBEZ.

Frank Chaves was born in Cuba and moved when he was six months old with his family.  When he returned to Cuba to work on the collaboration with Orbert Davis, he was moved by the passion and kindness of the people, as well as the culture.  Orbert spent a lot of time with a Cuban drummer who was in his 80’s.  Orbert was amazed to learn the drummer knew of Dizzy Gillespie but was unacquainted with Miles Davis.

This panel discussion was part of the Latino Theater Festival.  Check out the Goodman Theatre website for more information –


Two Chicago plays I saw…

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Since humans won the “zombie apocalypse,” zombies are treated as second-class citizens. Albert is the only of his kind who is able to speak, but only with the intellect of an average human. Joined by his zombie-brother Bwains and his human friend Tim, Albert embarks on a quest to win civil rights for all zombies and ends up falling in love with a human girl. 

Zombie Genius is one of the few plays I have enjoyed watching at the Annoyance theater.  It gave me a few laughs, and I didn’t worry about anything during the production.  I recommend it to take your mind off things, it doesn’t require much thinking and it’s not overboard with silliness.

The Annoyance Theatre & Bar, 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640, 773.561.4665 (Box Office) 

Closes January 26 


The Cricket on the Hearth celebrates the magic of domesticity. Subtitled “A Fairy Tale of Home,” this world premiere adaptation follows the intersecting lives of the Perrybingles and the Plummers as well as that of the miser, Mr. Tackleton. In this classic tale, the third of Dickens’ five Christmas books, he uses his characters to stress the importance and power of love as the ruler of one’s life.  Upon its publication in 1845, The Cricket on the Hearth out sold Dickens’ A Christmas Carol from 1843, Cricket’s stage adaptations were more popular than A Christmas Carolthroughout the 19th Century in England.  It was about 85 minutes long without an intermission.  It was entertaining and parts of it reminded me of The Christmas Carol.  Occasionally an actor would play two characters in the same scene and I noticed that some of the audience were confused by this.

The Cricket on the Hearth , by Charles Dickens,adapted and directed by Edward Kuffert  City Lit Theater Company,1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave • Chicago, IL 60660 • 773-293-3682


Chicago Blackhawks 2012-2013 season?

December 2, 2012 1 comment

I miss watching the National Hockey League (NHL), especially the Chicago Blackhawks. At least 25% of the 2012-13 season has been cancelled due to the lockout and no movement on negotiations between players and owners. I do not have the details of how far apart they are, but they have tried a mediator and still it is not looking good. The fans are loosing. It is the second lockout within 8 years I believe.

I have watched some American Hockey League (AHL) on TV, but it is not the same. It is entertaining, a family atmosphere and the Chicago Wolves have been winning when I watch. I rather be watching the Blackhawks.

The Hawks have gone from 3,400 season ticket holders at the start of the 2007-2008 season to 14,000 now. There are 10,000 on the waiting list because the team sells only 65 percent of capacity as season ticket holders. I think this lockout, and potential lose of an entire season, will have a negative effect ticket sales next year. Especially with single ticket sales.

The Blackhawks fan base has sold out the United Center every game the past four years. Interest in the Hawks is more than five times higher than it was five years ago. Part of the reason is beginning in the 2008-2009 season most of their games were on television. Also, winning consistently and winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 (first time in 49 years.)

One of my favorite players, Marian Hossa, was going to return after being knocked out in the playoffs last season with a concussion. Marian Hossa missed 16 games in his first eight seasons, until shoulder and knee injuries plagued him in Chicago. He has missed about 43 games in his first two-plus seasons with the Hawks after signing a 12-year contract. Hossa was drafted 12th overall in the ’97 entry draft by the Ottawa Senators. He is a native of Stara Lubovna, Slovakia.

Patrick Kane played right-wing almost entirely the first four years in the league. He joined the Hawks in 2007 at 18 years old. Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane scored during the all-star game in January 2012, in front of a crowd of 20,510 at Scotiabank Place.

Viktor Stalberg is one of five Blackhawks who will be playing in Europe while the NHL lockout continues. With one year left on his contract with the Hawks that pays him $850,000, Stalberg will be an unrestricted free agent after the NHL season. He had 22 goals and 21 assists in 79 games last season. His contract could be voided if he is seriously injured while playing overseas, so he purchased an insurance policy. ** Victor Stalberg is from Gothenberg, Sweden and is 26.

Blackhawks 2012-13 first round pick, 18th overall, was Teuvo Teravainen (9/11/1994) from Helsinki, Finland. He is a forward and he can play wing or center positions. He will play in Finland for his first season. General Manager Stan Bowman said, “He’s a dynamic offensive player. He has great hands, he has the ability to make plays (and) he has good speed. He’s a really gifted offensive player.”

2011-12 Record was 45-26-11 (101 points, 6th in the West)

A highlight since the end of last season was Eddie Olczyk, former Blackhawk player, was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of fame this year. During his career, he played in 1,031 regular season games scoring 342 goals and 452 assists. He played with several teams besides the Hawks during his career and he won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in ’94. He also coached for the Penguins for 1 ½ years.* In 1984, Olczyk was named to the U.S. Olympic hockey team at 17. Also in ’84 he was selected third overall in the NHL draft after the Hawks traded up in the draft.*

( *Source: Chris Kuc Chicago Tribune Local kid scores article)
(**Source: Chris Kuc Chicago Tribune Playing easily trumps tedium article)

Open House Chicago 2012

October 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I had such a good time last year when I attended the first Open House Chicago the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAP) presented I attended this year’s event October 13 – 14. A free, citywide event offers behind-the-scenes access to more than 150 buildings. Due to the rainy weather, I only went to two neighborhoods.

Some of the highlights for me were:

First place I visited was The Ogden International School of Chicago at Walton and State. It felt like a high school. Some of the things I liked about the modern building is the three green roofs, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Status, and is a recipient of 2012 Chicago Building Congress Merit Award for New Construction. It was founded in 1857 and was the 10th Public School in the City of Chicago. It is named after the first Mayor of Chicago, William Butler Ogden.

I also took a tour at the 4750 GreenRise Uptown (4750 N. Sheridan Rd.) which was built in 1921 for Mutual Insurance. It is now home to the Institute of Cultural Affairs . “The focus of ICA programs is on the development of local communities, organizations, and the development of leaders within both.” They are doing a lot to reduce their carbon footprint such as window gardens. A resident, who painted the mural in the parking lot across the street, also restored the lobby ceiling by hand.

Biggest revelation for me was the Vanguard Weiss Hospital’s Urban Rooftop. I have gone to the farmers market near Weiss Hospital a few times and never knew there was an Urban Rooftop on their parking structure. They even have a chicken coop and Bee hives!

I saw the Bridgeview Bank vault in the basement with a door, which weighs 36 tons. A person working there said the movie Public Enemies filmed a few scenes there.


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