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Music Review: 2017 Chicago Open Air Festival With Anthrax, Megadeth, Rob Zombie, KISS

Gene Simmons of Kiss at Chicago Open Air Festival. Photo by Jeff Doles

CHICAGO – Watching a heavy metal band perform during daylight can be a little like watching a horror film with the lights on. The overall performance can sometimes lose a bit of its edge and intensity.

Slideshow: 2017 Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago Runs From August 24-27

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Lou Ferrigno of TV’s ‘The Incredible Hulk’ will also appear in 2017.

CHICAGO – It’s coming back! One of the best annual pop culture entertainment and comic book gatherings returns to Chicagoland once again, as the Wizard World Comic Con will make its yearly visit to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., the weekend of August 24th through the 27th, 2017. Besides the fan costumes, vendor booths and comic book legends, Wizard World has appearances from TV, music and movie celebrities, highlighted by Elizabeth Olsen (“Captain America: Civil War”), John Cusack (“Love & Mercy”), Gene Simmons (KISS) and Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk” TV series).

Interview, Audio: Haroula Rose, Creator of ‘Tribeca: TV’ Finalist ‘Lost & Found’

Haroula Rose

CHICAGO – The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival was not all about film. Besides showcasing Immersive and Virtual Reality programming, this edition of the festival opened up submissions from independent television pilot creators for the first time. One of the four finalists that were accepted to the “Tribeca: TV” portion of the festival was “Lost & Found,” created and directed by Haroula Rose, who is from the nearby Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, Ill.

Slideshow: Laura Harrier of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ at Film Preview in Chicago

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Laura Harrier portrays Liz in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’

CHICAGO – Chicago welcomed one of its own back home when Laura Harrier, who portrays the key role of Liz in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” appeared at a Chicago preview for the film on June 21st, 2017. Harrier lived in nearby Evanston, Illinois, and graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2008. The actress/model first gained notoriety in 2013, when she portrayed Destiny Evans in the reboot of the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Her appearance in “Spider-Man: Homecoming marks her major film debut.

Interview, Audio: Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon of ‘The Big Sick’

CHICAGO – One the hottest films to come out of the Sundance Film Festival in January was “The Big Sick,” which was written by Kumail Nanjiani (Dinesh in “Silicon Valley”) and his wife Emily V. Gordon. It is the based-on-truth story of the couple’s initial meeting, and the circumstances surrounding their early dating life.

Podcast Talk: Director James Choi on the Chicago Premiere of ‘Empty Space’ on July 1, 2017

Empty Spaces

CHICAGO – The combination of two different souls with two different problems – isolated in rural Illinois – was the story that director James Choi knew he wanted to produce as his next film project. So armed with a micro budget, a four man production crew and a cast of passionate actors, Choi created “Empty Space.” The film is making its Chicago premiere at the Windy City Film Festival on Saturday, July 1st, 2017.

Podcast Talk: Full Spectrum Features ‘Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3’ on May 30, 2017

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3

CHICAGO – One the top filmmaker organizations of Chicago is Full Spectrum Features. The non-profit production and exhibition collective has made their “Chicagoland Shorts” series (Vol. 1 & 2) a representation of diverse Windy City creativity, applying their mission statement of supporting minority, female and LGBTQ filmmakers in that mix. “Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 3” will have its World Premiere on May 30th, 2017, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in downtown Chicago, as announced by the Program Director of Full Spectrum Features, Dane Haiken. The screening begins at 6pm, and is free and open to the public.

Podcast Talk: Asian Pop-Up Cinema Honors Hong Kong Pop & Film Legend Teddy Robin Kwan

Asian Pop Up Cinema 2017 Closing Night

CHICAGO – When The Beatles changed pop music forever in the early 1960s, they also launched a worldwide revolution of bands and songwriters. One such star was Teddy Robin Kwan, who founded Teddy Robin & the Playboys in Hong Kong, and rightly took the crown as “The King of Asian Pop.” And for his second act, the small-but-mighty Kwan became one of Hong Kong’s top film composers, as well as a director and actor of note. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series Closing Night Gala in Chicago on May 11th, 2017.

Red-Carpet Exclusive Portrait, Audio: Jeremy Piven for Gene Siskel Center Renaissance Award

Jeremy Piven, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Actor Jeremy Piven came home to Chicago on May 13th, 2017, to moderate the Gene Siskel Center Renaissance Award tribute to actor Kevin Spacey. Piven, who grew up in nearby Evanston, Ill., has forged a diverse career in Hollywood, and is most well-known for portraying super-agent Ari Gold in the HBO series “Entourage.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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