RSSOffBeat With Phil Potempa

OFFBEAT: Rural life honored Sept. 10 Purdue agriculture dinner at Avalon

OFFBEAT: Rural life honored Sept. 10 Purdue agriculture dinner at Avalon

A Safe and Relaxing Labor Day to Times Readers. . .

One of my favorite films is the 1947 funny movie about rural life and farming from Universal-International called "The Egg and I."

It starred Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray as "city folk" trying to learn how to raise chickens and "work the land" with help from Marjorie Main (our Hollywood Hoosier claim-to-fame from Acton, Ind.) and Percy Kilbride cast in the roles of Ma and Pa Kettle. Main received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and the film inspired eight subsequent "Ma and Pa Kettle" feature films.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL Potempa: 'Big Fish,' 'Golden Pond' on Munster stage for 2015 season

OFFBEAT with PHIL Potempa: 'Big Fish,' 'Golden Pond' on Munster stage for 2015 season

While New York audiences and Broadway critics weren't exactly hooked on the 2013 stage premiere of "Big Fish," I was pleased with what I saw during a Windy City run prior to its opening in the Big Apple.

Now, in 2015, Theatre at the Center audiences in Munster will get to experience the first professional staging of the musical since it swam away last year.

I haven't read "Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions" by Daniel Wallace, first printed in 1998, but I have watched the cult status 2003 film directed by Tim Burton, starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham Carter.

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OFFBEAT: Joan Rivers still 'critical but stable'; Brad and Angie hitched

OFFBEAT: Joan Rivers still 'critical but stable'; Brad and Angie hitched

Comedienne Joan Rivers remained in critical but stable condition late Friday afternoon after being rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Rivers stopped breathing Thursday during what's been described as a routine clinical procedure for a vocal cord ailment.

Rivers, 81, was described as "resting comfortably" in the New York hospital after apparently suffering cardiac and respiratory arrest Thursday. She is reportedly in a "medically induced coma" while her medical situation is closely monitored.

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, 46, and Joan's grandson, Cooper, 13, who live in Los Angeles, flew to New York on Thursday afternoon to be with her.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Yves Saint Laurent' film captures complicated fashion genius

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Yves Saint Laurent' film captures complicated fashion genius

While recently watching a black and white vintage episode of the CBS panel game show "What's My Line?" with my parents, I was surprised at the "celebrity mystery guest" featured in the October 1965 episode.

It was a very shy gentleman from Paris wearing a basic suit and large plastic, horned-rimmed glasses, who was none-other than famed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

The panelists, including gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, book publisher Bennett Cerf and actress Arlene Francis, all had to be blindfolded so as to not recognize the small-framed genius of Paris runways.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL Potempa: Dean White, 91, honored with Courthouse 'Patriot' Party on Sept. 7

OFFBEAT with PHIL Potempa: Dean White, 91, honored with Courthouse 'Patriot' Party on Sept. 7

The week of Sept. 7 to 14 is Patriot's Week in Crown Point.

The Lake County Court House Foundation Inc., the nonprofit organization formed in 1978 and housed in the old Lake County Court House on the square in Crown Point, is shining a celebration spotlight on the group's favorite "patriot," Dean White.

The courthouse building was started for construction in 1878 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places in Indiana. In September, a 135th birthday celebration was held with Crown Point astronaut claim-to-fame Jerry Ross attending.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Guiding Light' star Kim Zimmer in 'Hello, Dolly!' this week in Michigan

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Guiding Light' star Kim Zimmer in 'Hello, Dolly!' this week in Michigan

The longtime CBS soap opera "Guiding Light" aired its final episode five years ago in September 2009, wrapping up the 72-year-old soap series, which began as a radio broadcast before moving to TV.

Kim Zimmer, who played Reva Shayne on "Guiding Light," will star this week in "Hello, Dolly!" at The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich. The performances are at 8 p.m. EST today through Friday; and 5 and 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday.

For the first time in 25 years, The Barn Theatre is staging the Tony Award-winning musical about the beloved matchmaker Dolly Levi.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Andrews Sisters tribute musical revue extends in Chicago

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Andrews Sisters tribute musical revue extends in Chicago

The Andrews Sisters remain a lasting and legendary iconic musical force.

It could be all of the hope and inspiration they provided to country and our U.S. Troops with their music during World War II. And certainly, their unique sibling talents for harmonizing and performing helped preserve they're lasting impression in the hearts and minds of so many.

We just lost the last of the iconic sister act, Patty Andrews (the blonde "in the middle" sister), last year at age 94.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Glass artist Hopko's leggy work reminds of Paul the Octopus

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Glass artist Hopko's leggy work reminds of Paul the Octopus

Since our recent stretch of end of August weather has been tropical, I thought writing about something cool from under the sea would be topical.

In 2011, I wrote a column about Paul the Psychic Octopus. Originally from Weymouth, England, where Paul hatched from an egg in 2008, he spent most of his life in a tank at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, where he became internationally famous for correctly predicting the winner of each of the Germany national soccer team's seven matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as the outcome of the finals.

Because of his accurate predictions, he was often the target of fanatical death threats and had to be closely guarded. Over the years, Paul's handlers rejected 5-figure offers for him to be transported to make appearances in other countries and even Las Vegas. He made his team selections by using a series of plastic cubes placed in his tank. He died in October 2010 and was cremated.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Return of Oz Fest in 2014 in Chicago 'burbs canceled

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Return of Oz Fest in 2014 in Chicago 'burbs canceled

It's been two years after Chesterton decided to disband the annual tradition of hosting a Wizard of Oz Festival. Now, efforts to "relaunch" the festival tribute to the characters on the Yellow Brick Road next month also have been postponed.

In May, I reported Orland Park, according to the website midwestozfest.com, would host the inaugural Midwest Wizard of Oz Festival from Sept. 19 to 21 at the city's Centennial Park, 15600 West Ave., as a free event.

However, earlier this month, the new festival's organizer, Dave DeJohn, announced plans had changed and the festival, still on the same dates, would be hosted by Tinley Park.

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OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Little Orphan Annie visiting Dick Tracy for comics return

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Little Orphan Annie visiting Dick Tracy for comics return

When Tribune Syndicate and flagship The Chicago Tribune decided to end their long-running distributed comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" in 2010, there were many unanswered questions.

The cancellation came after the number of newspapers carrying the comic strips dwindled. Fortunately, Annie's newspaper neighbor on the comics pages (primarily The Chicago Tribune) Dick Tracy has continued to be distributed by Tribune Syndicate. And now, the square-jawed detective who rose to fame during the same era as the launch of Annie's trademark red curly-top, is helping solve the mystery of the missing comic strip favorite of so many generations.

When the 86-year run of the Annie comic strip ended, many story and plot lines were left unresolved.

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