REELSCREEN: News & Notes

Three Hollywood stars from Chicago will be honored at Showtime’s 8th annual Black Perspectives “Homecoming Celebration” Saturday, Oct. 16 at Thorne Auditorium.

Honorees are Chicago resident, stage and screen veteran Irma P. Hall (“Collateral,” “The Ladykillers”), with nearly 50 films to her credit; Robert Townsend, with close to 20 films to his credit, including “Hollywood Shuffle,” “The Five Heartbeats;” and Harry J. Lennix, (“The Human Stain,” “Matrix Reloaded”).

Presenters are Bonnie DeShong, Stella Foster, Jeanne Sparrow and Robin Robinson. Cocktail reception, 6 p.m., presentation 7, hors d’ouevres and cocktails, 8:30. Tickets are $50. Call 312/332-FILM or Ticketmaster, 312/902-1500.

CONCERT VIDEO. Gaffer Phil Contursi’s fast-growing Production Productions assembled crew and equipment for a massive shoot of a video to be used for the opening of the R. Kelly and Jay Z concert tour. Venue was the city of Elgin. Product Productions is located in a 15,000-sq. ft. building, which Contursi owns, at 2155 W. Hubbard. Called Space Stage Studios, it offers a 55×35 sound stage with cyc, insert stage, and scene dock big enough for a 30-ft. truck New: a custom-built 1.5 ton truck. Phone, 312/421-9030.

TOP CH. 11 SHOW. David Manilow’s “Check Please” series is Ch. 11’s most popular show. Now Manilow’s Semaphore Media is taking the show on the road. A development is in the works with San Francisco’s PBS outlet KQED to produce a local version of the show. New York is targeted after that. Semaphore produces 13 episodes each season, at $20-$25,000 an episode, choosing Joe Public guests from the 9,000 on the waiting list to appear on the show. Host is Alpana Singh. Manilow has a contract to produce the show for two more years. He is a former owner of the now-defunct Orbis.

Max Gail

HELLO, MAX. If you remember the classic “Barney Miller” series, you’ll remember Max Gail who played Det. Stan ‘Wojo’ Wojciehowicz. The veteran actor, who’s been active in the technology community, is moving to Chicago where he will spend half the year. (Two of his children live here). His email address is max@lap.org, in the event you’d like to welcome Wojo to Chicago.

GOODBYE, JUSTIN. McDonald’s has dropped Justin Timberlake and signed Destiny’s Child for its “I’m Lovin’ It” global advertising. The deal will include McDonald’s sponsorship of Destiny Child’s new worldwide tour, “Destiny Fulfilled and Lovin’ It” that starts next spring.

SECURITY PSA. Editworks Chicago was tapped by Nextel, sponsor of the NASCAR Nextel Cup, to produce a PSA for September’s National Preparedness month. It featured Homeland Security director Tom Ridge, NASCAR Driver Jeff Burton and Nextel CEO Tim Donahue speaking on the need for preparedness for any natural disaster or terrorist attack. It was shown pre-race on Jumbotrons at all NASCAR events.

HISTORYMAKERS DVD DEBUT. Atlanta director Tom Spencer will direct TheHistorymakers’ live/tape “Evening with Russell Simmons,” interviewed by Radio and TV One’s founder Cathy Hughes Oct. 22 at the Art Institute. The evening is dedicated to the late media executive Launa Thompson, co-chairman of the event. Next up: TheHistorymakers’ executive director Julianna Richardson goes to L.A. for the Nov. 18 debut screening of the “Salute to TheHistorymakers” DVD. Produced by Russell Simmons’ company, it features interviews with contemporary African Americans on faith, courage and success. Actor James Avery (“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”) hosts the presentation.

23rd YEAR FOR FEST. Reeling 2004: The 23rd Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, the second oldest festival of its kind, takes place Nov. 4-11. Sixteen countries are represented in 97 films and videos, in 48 programs of features, shorts and special presentations. Main venues are Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers. Opening night at the Music Box theatre: reception, followed by screening of Angela Robinson’s “D.E.B.S.” Tickets range from $6 for matinees to $25 for the party. Call 312/458-0639, or see www.reelingfilmfestival.org.

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