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Podcast Talk: Jerry Vasilatos of Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project on Kickoff on July 30, 2017

48 Hour Film Project 2017

CHICAGO – For the 13th straight year, Chicago will host the 48 Hour Film Project. The international competition allows filmmakers to gather their production teams and challenges them to create a short film in only 48 hours. Producer Jerry Vasilatos is in charge of the Chicago competition and is hosting a meet and greet on July 30, 2017 at the Lincoln Tap Room on the North Side.

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co.’s ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ is Bright Entertainment

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.

Film News: ‘La Choses De La Vie’ in French Film Series at Gene Siskel Center on July 24, 2017

La Chose De La Vie

CHICAGO – The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is in the midst of a series called “Journeys Through French Cinema.” The theme is based on filmmaker/film historian Bernard Tavernier’s documentary “My Journey Through French Cinema,” and highlights his experiences with the rich cinematic influences of French film. The series, which runs through August 2nd, 2017, is putting the spotlight on “La Choses De La Vie” (The Things of Life) on July 24th.

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.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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