The Beatles

Exclusive Photo: Peter Tork, Member of 'The Monkees,' Dies at 77

Peter Tork, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – Hey, hey, he (was) a Monkee, and Peter Tork liked Monkee-ing around. The eternally optimistic-but-doofus character of the “Pre-Fab Four” 1960s pop group The Monkees was also a consummate musician, and was one the first members of the made-for-TV band that protested the false backing tracks to their playing and singing. Tork died on February 21st, 2019. He was 77.

Film Review: A Bit of Pop/Rock Magic Spins in ‘Juliet, Naked’

CHICAGO – The story of a drop-out rock and roll star… usually disappearing at the height of their fame… has fascinated the movies in both fiction (“Eddie and the Cruisers”) and documentary (“Waiting for Sugarman”). “Juliet, Naked” takes the premise and creates a charming, romantic story about fandom and redemptive decisions.

Film News: Adam West, the 1960s TV Batman, Dies at 88

LOS ANGELES – When Adam West had a voice role on “The Simpsons,” portraying the Batman – as he had in the iconic TV series from 1966 through 1968 – he remarked, in reference to the rubber muscle costume that the movie actors wore, that his Batman was “All Pure West.” West died on June 9th, 2017, at the age of 88.

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.

Interview: Scott Freiman on ‘Deconstructing the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper Album’

Deconstructing The Beatles

CHICAGO – Scott Freiman is an entrepreneur, producer, composer and musicologist, and turned his primary passion – painstakingly delving into the song production techniques of The Beatles – into a series of lectures called “Deconstructing The Beatles.” He has turned those lectures into films, and “Deconstructing The Beatles Sgt. Pepper Album” will screen in Chicago at area Landmark Cinemas on February 6th, 2017.

Interview: Anson ‘Potsie’ Williams on His Book ‘Singing to a Bulldog’

CHICAGO – When is comes to appreciating life, one great practitioner is Anson Williams, better known as the character “Potsie” from the 1970s TV series “Happy Days.” Williams wants to remind everybody to “pay it forward,” as he does in highlighting his unlikely mentor in his new book, “Singing to a Bulldog.”

Film Review: An Experimental Experience in Non-Biopic ‘Jimi: All is By My Side’

Jimi: All is By My Side

CHICAGO – “Jimi: All Is by My Side” shows the Jimi Hendrix experience without having the rights to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It’s an unofficial rumination that doesn’t have any Hendrix songs, and it focuses on a more day-in-the-life perspective of the rock star, albeit in a career period that would be scooted over through montage in any other film. The endeavor is ambitious in its desires, and stands out most of all for its experimental nature than it does for trying to achieve a truth higher than fact.

Blu-ray Review: The Beatles’ ‘Help!’ Given Loving HD Restoration

Help!

CHICAGO – After the massive success of “A Hard Day’s Night,” director Richard Lester was given more money and more creative freedom to direct “Help!,” a film seen as a disappointment by many at the time, including The Beatles themselves, but historically appreciated (as are most things John, Paul, George, and Ringo). The Beatles 1965 classic has been given a loving restoration, particularly in the sound department, and accompanied by interesting special features and attractive packaging. It’s a great gift idea for The Beatles fan in your family.

Interview: ‘The Sopranos’ Creator David Chase on ‘Not Fade Away’

CHICAGO – It was one of the most famous endings in TV history. Tony Soprano, the patriarch of “The Sopranos,” waiting at a restaurant for his family while “Don’t Stop Believin’” was blaring on the soundtrack. It is that rock sensibility that permeates “Not Fade Away,” the new film by the creator of “The Sopranos,” David Chase.

Film Review: ‘Cirque du Soleil: World’s Away’ is Visually Arresting Infomercial

Cirque du Soleil: World's Away

CHICAGO – Cirque du Soleil, which began with two street performers in Quebec in 1984, has grown into a multi-million dollar enterprise with shows on every continent and seven simultaneous extravaganzas in Las Vegas. The Vegas shows make up the storyline for “Cirque du Soleil: World’s Away.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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