Artistic endeavors “On the Side” a new webisodic ReelChicago feature


RED CAR’S JON DESIR is the first artist to appear in a new web series called “On the Side,” about creative people in the local advertising community who are passionately involved in creative projects unrelated to their professional occupations.

“On the Side” is the brainchild of Jonathan K. Knight, director/founder of The Leroy Effect, a branded entertainment company, with production support supplied by the good people at Utopic.

You’ll be able to see the 4-5 minute episodes here, on ReelChicago, starting in mid-December, as part of our expanded coverage.

“Spoken word is very theatrical, like mini-monologues. No subject is sacred, and it could be anything from family and science to advertising and psychology,” Desir says.  Once he gets an idea for the subject, he typically writes it in a couple of days.

A spoken word performer since he got out of college a decade ago, Desir frequently appears at the Double Door and Quenchers and at competitions. 

“There’s no shortage of great creative talent here,” Knight says.  If you or someone you know has something great going “On the Side,” Email Knight at

FEATURE FILMS AND TV SERIES might be in short supply but reality TV shows are slipping into the city like foxes under the fence.  Wish we had more info to provide, but here are some of the shows we learned about that are currently and will be shooting here now through early next year.

*Production company Magical Elves (“Top Chef”) “The Real L Word”) has an untitled relationship reality show that has started shooting here for three weeks. 

*Left Right Productions, New York (“This American Life, “Mob Wives”) is producing a new History Channel series, “United Stats” (as in statistics), starting Nov. 14, for potentially 12 weeks.

* Starting in January will be another 13-week season of HGTV’s “Great Rooms,” with “Design Star” winner Meg Caswell as the show’s host.

ONE REALITY TV SHOW that’s ready to roll is MTV’s comedy series, “Underemployed,”
whose pilot was shot here earlier in the year.  Local 476’s Mark Hogan got the word that a production office will open here in January with sights set on shooting in March or April.

THE ILLINOIS PRODUCTION ALLIANCE, the organization responsible for the passage and maintenance of Illinois 30% tax incentive, reelected officers for a one-year term ending one year from now.

They are: President Jeff Crabtree, political director for Teamsters Joint Council 25; vice president Mark Hogan, business manager. Local 476; VP/marketing chair Scott Erlinder, DePaul assistant professor; secretary Eric Chaudron,   executive director, AFTRA/SAG and treasurer Sally Fletcher, VP/Fletcher Camera & Lenses.

First on the new officers’ agenda is a meeting with the new administration to discuss “what the city can do to improve the climate for film production,” as one board member diplomatically put it. “We anticipate a more receptive audience with the present administration than the previous one.”

The DGA’s Dan Moore, Legislative committee chair, will lead the initiative.

GOT YOUR COSTUMES READY?  Cutters’ annual Bloodbath 3000 Halloween party on Thursday is a night of letting your inner ghoul run wild and competing for a $1,000 grand prize for the most outrageous creative costume.  Nonstop food, drink, music and amazing getups, start at 6 p.m. at Cutters, 515 N. State.

“THE HAUNTING OF CHICAGO,” half hour WYCC/Ch. 20 show, hosted by ghosthunter/historian, author Ursala Bielski, takes a ghostly trip down Archer Ave. to visit the stomping grounds of Resurrection Mary, one of Chicago’s most famous phantoms, and delves into the paranormal dimension of H.H. Holmes, America’s first known serial killer.

Bielski and producer Jim White created the show with series potential for Ch. 20; Ricardo Islas directed and Eryn Walanka edited. 

It airs Saturday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. and Halloween, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m.

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