- Nolan, McConaughey surprise with 'Interstellar'
- OFFBEAT: VeggieTales national premiere of new 'Celery' film in South Holland Aug. 2
- Nudist Colonies local and from afar looking for younger skin and new members
- OFFBEAT: Lowell reader wants update about actor Burt Reynolds
- OFFBEAT: 'The Jungle' plays until Sept. 6 on Chicago stage
RSSOffBeat With Phil Potempa
In all of the Introduction to Mass Media college courses I've ever taught, newspaper journalist-turned-author Upton Sinclair's work "The Jungle" is always included.
Sinclair, who died at age 90 in 1968, is one of the "creators of investigative journalism."
If it were not for Sinclair, there likely would not be the government branch we know today as the federal Food and Drug Administration and all of those hot dogs and steaks enjoyed at summer barbecues would not be so appealing.
Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber and the rest of the stars of the hit children's video series VeggieTales are hosting the "green garden carpet" national film premiere of their newest movie at the Family Christian store location in South Holland on Aug. 2.
In addition to the screening of "Celery Fever Night," I'm told the VeggieTales characters will meet children and adults at the free event at 1 p.m. at the Family Christian store, 550 E. 162nd St. in South Holland. The visit coincides with the nationwide release of "Celery Night Fever," which will be shown free of charge at the store at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. No tickets are necessary.
"We are expecting big crowds to turn out to meet the VeggieTales celebrities that families have come to know and love," said Chuck Bengochea, president and CEO of Family Christian.
If ever there was a story that needed to be told about the sinkholes of show business, it's the bittersweet back-story of The Marvelettes, the five-member girl group that helped put Motown on the map.
If you can't recall any of the group's hits, you're not alone. "Please, Mr. Postman" was certainly one of their most famed chart-toppers.
Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor is making sure the story of The Marvelettes is finally told in a new very entertaining and interesting stage telling.
I'm not sure how or why I missed the 2006 summer production of "Seussical The Musical" staged by Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
And even previous to that run, I also missed the 2002 national Broadway tour that stopped in Chicago starring gymnast Cathy Rigby in the narrative spotlight.
Fortunately for me, and for audiences of all ages, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is once again staging a new production of "Seussical," directed by Scott Weinstein with polish, pizzazz and plenty of humor and lessons to be learned for both children and adults.
Growing up on a farm, I've always loved author E.B. White's story "Charlotte's Web," first published in 1952, just a few years after George Orwell's "Animal Farm" (1945), which ranks as another of my favorites.
And since I was born in 1970, the 1972 animated movie version of "Charlotte's Web," starring the voices of Debbie Reynolds as the spider, Agnes Moorehead as the Goose and Paul Lynde as sneaky Templeton the Rat, was one of my first favorite films.
So understandably, I was curious about the impression I would be left with when reviewing the new stage production of "Charlotte's Web," produced by Broadway In Chicago and Emerald City Theatre, playing until Aug. 17 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut in Chicago.
July 22 marked the 80th Anniversary of that fateful night in 1934 when Hoosier-gangster claim-to-fame John Dillinger was gunned down in the alley next door to the Biograph movie theater in Chicago.
It was in July 2009 when Universal Pictures "Public Enemies" opened with Johnny Depp, as Public Enemy No. 1 Dillinger, depicting his life and final moments.
Dillinger, who thought of himself as a "modern day Robin Hood," always had an appetite for adventure.
After actor James Garner died Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles at age 86 of natural causes, I kept expecting his wire obits to include a reference or tribute quote from actress Mariette Hartley.
While I'd never interviewed Garner, I have interviewed Hartley, who just turned 74 last month.
Much like Garner's career, Hartley's talent and versatility have allowed her to ride a roller coaster of popular roles throughout the decades, ranging from star billing on episodes of "Gunsmoke" and "The Twilight Zone" in the early 1960s to her Emmy-winning role as the wife of late actor Bill Bixby on the ''Incredible Hulk'' show in the late 1970s.
So many of us are blessed to live in what still seems like a "land of plenty."
The worries of knowing hunger appear hidden when headlines continue to worn of obesity.
But without a doubt, I know my grandparents, who came from Poland and raised a large farm family of nine children, realized the fear of feeding many mouths.
Reader Lori Reinhart sent me a wonderful email last week reminding me of our time together when I was a student at Valparaiso University.
"I hope you remember me from your student days at VU, when I was Dr. Doug Kocher's administrative assistant in the Communication Department," Lori wrote.
"My husband is one of Jerry Reinhart's sons and we are coming back to present the film documentary on Jerry called 'The Musical Man' showing on July 26. I know you have been working with the Reinhart Family for the past several years and they are quite fond of you."
The Blue Gate Theater in the middle of Indiana's Shipshewana Amish Country, not far from South Bend, has debuted the world premiere of its new musical "Josiah for President," for a long run extending through Dec. 13.
This musical is the third created by Blue Gate Theater. The stage story was adapted by author Martha Bolton, who wrote the book of the same name.
Bolton, author of 88 books, has also written for late comedy greats such as Phyllis Diller and Bob Hope. She also adapted the scripts for "Half-Stitched" and "The Confession," both based on her books and made into musical adaptions with successful runs at The Blue Gate Theater.
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