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Theater Review: Raven Theatre’s ‘The Prodigal Daughter’ is HerStory

CHICAGO – One of the open secrets of Chicago is its horrible racist past, which remains like an echo. Playwright Joshua Allen has been exploring this theme in his Grand Boulevard Trilogy – the last chapter talking place during the infamous 1919 race riots – in Raven Theatre’s “The Prodigal Daughter.” For tickets and info, click TPD.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Raven Jackson for ‘All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt’

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt

CHICAGO – Reflective and observational films … as if the audience is inside looking out along with the the characters … are very rare and takes a quality creator to pull off. One such film is “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” and it is written and directed by a quality creator, the poet-turned-filmmaker Raven Jackson.

Podtalk: Kevin Shaw on HIs Documentary ‘Let the Little Light Shine’ at Gene Siskel Film Center

Let the Little Light Shine

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago, like a number of American cities, has gone through incredible transformations in the last 25 years. Whole neighborhoods left for dead during the white flight of the 1950s-70s have been gentrified and re-settled with luxury housing … often to the detriment of those who remained there throughout many difficult years.

In Memoriam: Merri Dee, Chicago Broadcasting Legend, Dies at 85

Merri Dee, photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – She was a pioneer in a broadcasting business at a time when it was mostly white and male. The incomparable Merri Dee was a fixture in Chicago media beginning in the 1960s, breaking barriers as a black woman TV personality and newscaster. She passed away in Chicago on March 16th, 2022, at age 85.

Flashback: Daphne Maxwell Reid, Aunt Vivian of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion’

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

CHICAGO – On November 18th, 2020, the streaming service HBO Max premiered “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion.” 30 years after the popular sitcom debuted, the primary cast got together to talk about the joys and foibles of developing family ties while creating and performing their characters in the show.

Via Zoom: Steve James and Zak Piper for ‘City So Real,’ Premiering on NatGeo Oct. 29, 2020

CHICAGO – The 2018-19 mayoral campaign in Chicago was a historic moment for the city, as the first woman of color (Lori Lightfoot) was elected. Director Steve James, of the legendary “Hoop Dreams,” takes on the events leading up to this history and beyond, in “City So Real.”

DAY SEVEN: Podtalk with Neal Sáles Griffin, for ‘City So Real’ at 56th Chicago International Film Fest

CHICAGO – One of the most influential documentary makers in film history is Chicagoan Steve James of Kartemquin Films. His lens has commented upon not only the seminal “Hoop Dreams” (1994), but “Stevie” (2002), “The Interrupters” (2011), the Roger Ebert bio doc “Life Itself” (2014) and the recent “America to Me.”

Film Reviews: HollywoodChicago.com On-Air Reviews of ‘7500’ & ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Da 5 Bloods

CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Scott Thompson on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on June 11th, 2020, discussing new VOD releases “The King of Staten Island” and “Working Man.”

Film Review: The Tumbling Delicacy of Life in ‘Blindspotting’

Blindspotting

CHICAGO – How can we understand the day-to-day factors of men and women who continued to be judged by their skin color, economic circumstances, difficult jobs or gender fluidity, if we are not any of those categories? Our art can help us, as given a great example in the new film “Blindspotting.”

Podtalk: Co-Stars Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal of ‘Blindspotting’

CHICAGO – If there are themes emerging in the 2018 film year, a couple of them are incorporated in Oakland, California, and African American identity. Like the recent “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You,” the new film “Blindspotting” – written by and featuring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal – involve those themes.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Prodigal Daughter, The

    CHICAGO – One of the open secrets of Chicago is its horrible racist past, which remains like an echo. Playwright Joshua Allen has been exploring this theme in his Grand Boulevard Trilogy – the last chapter talking place during the infamous 1919 race riots – in Raven Theatre’s “The Prodigal Daughter.” For tickets and info, click TPD.

  • Michael Shannon and Travis A. Knight, Red Orchid's TURRET

    CHICAGO – When in the presence of a powerful acting force like Michael Shannon, the depth of performance is emotional and passionately essential. He co-leads with Travis A. Knight in Red Orchid Theatre’s World Premiere of Levi Holloway’s “Turret,” just extended to June 22nd at the Chopin Theatre.

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