The venerable Players Workshop is reborn

3+ Chicago institution that helped train Bill Murray, Bonnie Hunt, David Mamet, Amy Sedaris reopens “for people from all walks of life” after 15-year break Players Workshop, the original Chicago school of improvisation founded in 1970, is reopening its doors just in time for a 50th anniversary celebration next year. New owner Jeff Rogers, actor, … Continue reading “The venerable Players Workshop is reborn”

‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ premiere

2+ Members of the Evans Scholars Foundation join hundreds of viewers for the golf-centric film’s Windy City debut More than 200 supporters of the Evans Scholars Foundation visited AMC River East in downtown Chicago on Thursday, May 30, for the Chicago premiere of Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk. Hailed as the most thorough feature-length documentary … Continue reading “‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ premiere”

Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box

4+ A cornucopia of classic genre screenings, premieres, and events to take place at Chicago’s iconic Music Box Theatre.     From June 21st through June 28th, a cornucopia of genre screenings and events will take place at the Music Box Theatre for its second annual Cinepocalypse. The film festival grinds together a gory cocktail … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box”

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

4+ Beginning June 5th, the Millennium Park Summer Film series will enhance the Tuesday night screenings that have become one of Chicago’s most beloved outdoor traditions. According to a press release issued by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the movies will be “programmed in collaboration with a local independent film … Continue reading “Millennium Park Summer Film Series”

Erv Dahl “nails” Rodney Dangerfield in new Lampoon film

6+ Chicago performer Erv Dahl plays Rodney Dangerfield in the recently released Netflix movie, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, about the rise and fall of National Lampoon magazine. In addition to recreating the facial twitches and hand gestures that helped bring fame to the man who gets no respect, Dahl “nails Rodney Dangerfield’s voice,” according … Continue reading “Erv Dahl “nails” Rodney Dangerfield in new Lampoon film”

Ch. 11 to air Superbowl winning “’85 Bears” doc 9/7

Thirty years ago last January, the 1985 Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was carried off the New Orleans Superdome turf after the Bears demolished the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26, 1986.

Now a feature-length doc brings that memorable victory back to life. “’85 Bears: The Greatest Team in Pro Football History” will premiere in for Chicago audiences Wednesday, Sept. 7 on WTTW/11 at 8 p.m.

Optimus trailers win 5 out of 9 Camp Kuleshov awards

The affectionate trailer for “Shark Song,” a fictional feel-good story created by The Whitehouse’s assistant editor Caleb Hepler, was the grand prize winner at the 10th annual AICE trailer editing competition.

Nine winners were announced at a party and awards show at the Bottom Lounge’s Volcano Room Thursday, Nov. 10.  Of these, five were assistant editors who won for Camp Kuleshov and four non-assistants, who work at AICE member companies and won for the Tent City division contest.

Of the nine winners, five were Optimus talents.

Second City training pioneer Jo Forsberg dies at 90

Chicago improv legend Josephine Raciti Forsberg passed away at age 90 on Oct. 3. Forsberg was present at the birth of what became the Second City, working with its earliest predecessor, the Playwrights Theatre Club.

She taught workshops with Viola Spolin; produced and directed the Children’s Theatre at the Second City for decades; and also taught at the Players Workshop, a forerunner of the current Second City Training Center.

Viva Digital Kitchen, winner of Cannes Design Grand Prix

DIGITAL KITCHEN has brought some Cannes glory to Chicago.  The Chicago-based collective of more than 100 artists, designers and filmmakers walked off Wednesday with the Grand Prix in the design category at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, considered the most prestigious of the many advertising award shows held each year around the world.

O&M’s Diedrich hits a home run with “Ballhawks” doc

Mike Diedrich was videotaping outside a Cubs-Pirates game in 2004 when there were two home runs in the first inning.  “There were four or five ballhawks out there,” Diedrich says.

“They got each home run because they were in position.  When you heard the crack of the bat, they took four or five steps toward where the ball was going to land.  They looked like Major League players tracking a fly ball.”

Local 476 electsTom Glynn as union president

LOCAL 476’S ELECTION OF OFFICERS retained Mark Hogan as business agent of the 800-member union for a second term, and voted in three new officers, president Tom Glynn, who replaces Dick Oakes. Bradley Mattys, recording secretary, replacing Dennis de la Mata and Patrick McGee a new executive board member.

Hogan said more than 50% of the membership voted, returning 407 ballots out of 760 mailed in October to members eligible to vote. Ballots were counted Dec. 14.

The new officers will serve a three-year term.

Someone has to get those brands on the screen;
in Chicago the go-to man is George Simkowski

Stories of the little-known business of product placement were spotlighted on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable in the person of Chicago’s George Simkowski of Let’s Go Hollywood.

Placement pioneer Simkowski got into the business years back when he was ad manager of Webcor phonographs and tape recorders, and an MGM producer called to use a tape recorder as a prop.

“And I said, ?what’s a prop?'” he recalls.

2020 in Review: Remembering Who Left Us

2+ Whether you stay in Chicago to make your mark or leave to make your impact felt somewhere else, you are still Chicago. 100%. It’s a badge of honor anyone from the city, that is second to none, wears proudly. When you win, we cheer for you. And when we lose you, we cry and … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Remembering Who Left Us”

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List

1+ Congratulations to our friends and advertisers who have received nominations for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy. The 62nd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will broadcast virtually in November. Regions covered by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter include Chicago, Illinois; Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin. Here is the complete … Continue reading “2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List”

The 2019 Black Harvest Film Festival

3+ The Gene Siskel Film Center’s 25th annual celebration of African Americans and the African diaspora August 3-29 The Gene Siskel Film Center celebrates the stories, dreams, history, and legacy of African Americans and the African diaspora in the 25th edition of the annual Black Harvest Film Festival. In addition to 50-plus film screenings, there … Continue reading “The 2019 Black Harvest Film Festival”

Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless”

2+ Aside from Macy and “Roseanne’s” Laurie Metcalf, Chicago connections went ignored: nothing for “The Chi,” “Empire,” and Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” series   Frank Gallagher is the worst father on TV, but for Two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy, the shiftless dad is pure gold. The talented actor scored his fifth Emmy nomination for his … Continue reading “Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless””

BETC Paris dominates 2017 Mobius Awards

7+ BETC Paris earned Best of Show nods in two categories of the 2017 Mobius Awards, which were announced on February 1. Founded in 1971, the Mobius Awards is an annual culmination of a review by a jury that spans the globe. Among the academic, entertainment and marketing professionals who judged 2017 submissions is Leo … Continue reading “BETC Paris dominates 2017 Mobius Awards”