RSSOffBeat With Phil Potempa

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Hottest show ticket here in Merrillville this weekend

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Hottest show ticket here in Merrillville this weekend

Cirque Italia features America's FIRST touring water stage and Northwest Indiana audiences are getting a first look this weekend.

This exciting tour will be in Merrillville this weekend, and then in Joliet for the Halloween weekend.

Starting last night with a Friday performance, and continuing today and Sunday, the tour's entertainment landmark swirl-striped tent is set up in the parking lot of Southlake Mall, just outside the JC Penney department store.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Little People upset with use of term in Sunday story

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Little People upset with use of term in Sunday story

Sunday Times readers likely saw the front page news feature cover story I wrote about Jeff Williams, who stands at 4 feet 4 inches. Earlier this week I received the following letter from Michael Spears, one of the organization leaders for Little People of America.

"Hi Philip: My name is Michael Spears and I am the District 5 Director of Little People of America. I just read the article that you wrote about Jeff Williams and wanted to reach out and discuss some of the concerns that I have from the piece. I applaud Jeff's success with his career and his life. But I am concerned about the usage of the word 'midget' throughout the piece. While Jeff may refer to himself by this, the correct terminology is 'dwarf' or 'little person.' As stated in the 'Associated Press Style Guide,' dwarf is 'the preferred term for people with a medical or genetic condition resulting in short stature. Plural is dwarfs. Midget is considered offensive when used to describe a person of short stature. Dwarf is the preferred term for people with that medical or genetic condition.' Philip, that word is very hurtful in our community and considered in the same context as an epithet to describe a person of race, national origin, skin color and disability. October is Dwarfism Awareness Month, and one of the many things that we continue to educate society is that 'the M-Word' is not acceptable. The State of Indiana recently declared October, Dwarfism Awareness Month in 2012, and one of the points that Gov. Mitch Daniels issued in the proclamation was that the word is offensive and antiquated to individuals with Dwarfism. Each October, chapters and districts from have across the country reach out to the state legislatures to have their states proclaim October, Dwarfism Awareness Month, and as of now, we have many states including Ohio, New York, and California that have issued the proclamation. Again, I applaud his successes, but I like to invite you to check out lpaonline.org, which has valuable resources and key points that educates not only new members, families, but society as well. I would be happy to discuss this more with you if you would like, as I am getting ready to help our District host the District 5 Regional Conference in Cleveland this weekend. I hope you have a great day. Take Care, Michael Spears, District 5 Director for Little People of America."

Thank you, Michael, for reading my story and taking the time to write to me. While (as you mentioned as well), I can't journalistically change Jeff's words (or thoughts) nor ethically change his quotes, I'll be happy to run your letter here below as a way to further educate others and raise awareness about this reference. And this month is a perfect time to do it, since as you've also mentioned, it's a special month. As you read through the story, you'll also note that my writer's voice never used the term "midget," with the exception of giving the word's dictionary origin. I used the term "little people" for any of my references.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: BoHo's stage 'Parade' riveting real story of jailed man

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: BoHo's stage 'Parade' riveting real story of jailed man

At the turn of the last century, in 1913, the name Leo Frank made sensational newspaper headlines for the murder of a young girl in the heart of the South.

A Brooklyn-raised Jewish businessman living with his wife in Georgia, Frank was put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker under his management. A sensationalist newspaper publisher and one of the factory janitors' false testimony made Frank's legal fate even more uncertain, with his only defenders being a governor hoping to not make further headlines, and Lucille, Frank's wife, and her persistence to prove her husband's innocence.

This is a true story and it is the basis for the new sensational production of the musical "Parade," the final offering for Chicago's BoHo Theatre as it closes out a milestone 10th anniversary season.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Amazing Grace' a faith-fantastic new musical

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Amazing Grace' a faith-fantastic new musical

To have the chance to see a new work unveiled BEFORE it heads to New York and Broadway is a special blessing for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana audiences.

Sometimes a new work is better received than other times, resulting in tweaks and changes before it's revealed on the Great White Way.

Broadway actor and singer Josh Young is the answer to stage prayers, along with a wonderful talented cast of greats in Chicago for our pre-Broadway launch of the new musical "Amazing Grace."

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Creative display for 2014 Brookfield Zoo costume contest

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Creative display for 2014 Brookfield Zoo costume contest

There were plenty of big (and little) winners over the weekend for Brookfield Zoo's annual Halloween costume parade and contest.

I served as one of the judges both days and I'll be back this weekend, too.

Brookfield Zoo calls this Boo! at the Zoo and it offers an array of "spook-tacular activities for the whole family."

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Steppenwolf's 'Animal Farm' riveting, relevant stage story

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Steppenwolf's 'Animal Farm' riveting, relevant stage story

Steppenwolf for Young Adults magically brings the weight-heavy words, themes and creatures of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" alive for a sensational world premiere stage adaptation by Althos Low.

Artistic and Educational Director Hallie Gordon imaginatively directs this 90-minute, no intermission Chicago production in Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre for a run through Nov. 14.

Orwell's "Animal Farm" was a required reading list must from my days in high school advanced literature class.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Are you older and starting new life to adapt?

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Are you older and starting new life to adapt?

Television shows throughout the decades always have reflected society and social change.

But one theme that has remained the same in many series is the idea of families with shared resources, including older characters incorporated as part of a combined household.

In the early days of television, when the "Lassie" CBS series launched in 1954 (often called "Jeff's Collie"), George "Gramps" Miller lived with the family as Ellen's father-in-law and Jeff's paternal grandfather. In the 1960s, even the competing creepy families like "The Munsters" on CBS and "The Addams Family" on ABC had Grandpa and Grandma living under the same family roof and contributing to everyday life. By the 1970s, "The Waltons" on CBS portrayed the same family formula as depicted in the 1940s story lines. And the ratings success "Fraiser" showed the same father and son roommate situation in the decade of the 1990s.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Like 'Wonka' finds, appraised items can be 'Golden Ticket'

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Like 'Wonka' finds, appraised items can be 'Golden Ticket'

Reader Ashley Halpern asked me to get the word out about "a new first-ever event" that helps uncover the value of treasures at home, while also raising money to help WANISS, the Women's Association of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Society.

"Our Women's Association of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Society's Antique Critique will be similar to the PBS TV show 'Antiques Roadshow,' with appraisers on hand to offer verbal appraisals and information related to their items," Halpern explained.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Chicago Architecture free tours this weekend

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Chicago Architecture free tours this weekend

I never realized famed silent screen comedian Charlie Chaplin once lived in Chicago.

In late 1914, Essanay Studios in Chicago hired Chaplin away from Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios, offering him a higher salary and his own production unit. Chaplin made 14 short comedies for Essanay in 1915, at both the Chicago and the Niles, Calif., satellite studio location.

While in Chicago, Chaplin lived at Brewster Apartments, 2800 N. Pine Grove Ave.

Continue reading

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Submission's' Chicago debut tackles race, identity issues

OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: 'Submission's' Chicago debut tackles race, identity issues

As study after study reveals, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

This is just one of the intricate considerations addressed for the Chicago premiere of "The Submission" by Jeff Talbott, winner of the 2011 Laurent's/Hatcher Award and the Outer Circle's John Gassner Award for Best New Play in 2012. It is the Pride Films and Plays follow-up to its sold-out Jeff Recommended run of Terrence McNally's "Some Men."

Running through Nov. 25 at the Apollo Studio Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., following Tuesday's opening night performance, "The Submission" also garnered a Jeff Recommended stamp.

Continue reading

Movies & Theater

Movies

Enter your Zip code below to see local movie listings:

TV Listings

Enter your ZIP code below to see local listings.
Get weekly ads via e-mail

Latest Local Offers