A daily dose of arts and entertainment

October 2012 Archives

After complaining of chest pains, actor and Chicago (Beverly) native George Wendt was hospitalized Sunday. While he's expected to make a full recovery, the "Cheers" actor was forced to drop out of a soon-to-begin run of "The Odd Couple" at Skokie's Northlight Theatre. On Tuesday Wendt -- also known for his portrayal of cheesily mustachioed, Ditka-worshipping Bears Superfan Bill Swerski on Saturday Night Live and elsewhere -- posted this update on his Facebook page:

"Doctors have indeed found a piece of Polish sausage lodged in the lining of my heart. They refer to the condition as coronary kielbasis. Apparently I'll do anything to be like Ditka."

For more Wendt-related hilarity, go here:



Brad Pitt has agreed to donate $100,000 to help the Human Rights Campaign raise money for its efforts to support same-sex marriage initiatives in several states, AP is reporting.

The nation's largest gay rights group said that Pitt agreed to match contributions from members up to $100,000.

It was a rare political donation for Pitt. In an e-mail to members of the Human Rights Campaign, Pitt wrote that it's ''unbelievable'' that people's relationships will be put to a vote on Election Day.

Same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington state.

Pitt and his girlfriend, Angelina Jolie, have said before that they wouldn't marry until gays were allowed to do the same, though they later went back on that when Pitt proposed to Jolie.


Helen and Sam Zell, on behalf of their foundation, have donated $10 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The gift, which was announced today, will be used to create the Zell Fund for Artistic Excellence and help the museum pay off some of the mortgage on the building at 220 E. Chicago Ave. It will also be used to support museum director Madeleine Grynsztejn's "Vision" plan in making the MCA a premier place for contemporary art, Crain's Chicago reports.

Helen Zell was president of the MCA's women's board from 1991 to 1994 and is chairman of the collection committee. The Zell Family Foundation also provides two paid internships at the museum.

It's the second time MCA has received a gift so large from a single donation, a museum spokeswoman said. In April, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson also gave $10 million to name the 300-seat MCA Theater, which is now the Edlis Neeson Theater.

Not your typical museum showcase.

On Saturday, a dozen of Japanese fashion pieces go on display next to priceless ancient Japanese pots and colorful woodblock prints at the Art Institute of Chicago exhibit "Material Translations."

Gillion Carrara, the Fashion Resource Center director and founder, honed the clothing collection into a library of museum-quality fashion -- with a very anti-museum mission.

Part of the School of the Art Institute's special collections, the Fashion Resource Center holds rack after rack of designer clothing, all of it meant to be touched.

See some pictures of the clothing and read more about the exhibit here.


Choreographer Joden Morris' "Moulin Rouge -- The Ballet," created in 2009 for Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, will make its Chicago debut, Nov. 2-4 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress.

Driving the story is the romance between Nathalie (the sparkling dancer who works as a laundress until she is singled out for a place onstage by Zidler, owner of the Moulin Rouge), and Matthew, the young artist who captures her heart, and also is befriended by Toulouse-Lautrec. Zidler's obsession with Nathalie, and her attempt to escape with Matthew, results in tragedy, Sun Times' Hedy Weiss reports.

Tickets are $30 to $74. Purchase tickets here.


One was a mermaid. Another was a geeky Boy Scout. And a few couples coordinated their looks.

See who dressed up as what for parties in Hollywood and elsewhere.

Who got it right? And which ones fell flat?


When photos surfaced of his 3-month-old daughter at a Playboy party, Kelsey Grammer had an explanation.

Grammer, 57, says that, yes, he and wife Kayte, took baby Faith with them to the party.

In a statement sent to us by his rep, the Boss star says:

"Kayte is breast-feeding and we do not have a nanny or a trusted baby-sitter at this time, so Faith goes everywhere with us," said Grammer. "We enjoyed the party with a few of our friends, the baby slept as her ears were covered the entire time and we left shortly after midnight."

TMZ posted a photo of Grammer's 3-month-old daughter, Faith, fast asleep in her baby carrier at Hef's Playboy Mansion this past weekend for the annual Halloween bash, "surrounded by hot chicks, booze ... and velvet," as the site put it.


Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman has admitted to "slapping" a homeless man after the vagrant became hostile towards him and his wife.

TMZ.com reported that the screen icon and his wife, Betsy Arakawa, became embroiled in the scuffle whilst walking through Santa Fe on Tuesday afternoon. Hackman, 82, and his wife both share a home in the city.

Read more here.

Wednesday's TV schedule

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Due to a printing error, we mistakenly ran Thursday's TV schedule instead of today's lineup. In case you're wondering what to watch tonight, you can download a PDF of today's schedule HERE.


David Letterman didn't get many laughs for his monologue Monday: The "Late Show" host told his jokes to a mostly empty Ed Sullivan Theater.

Jimmy Fallon taped "Late Night" without an audience, too, as Hurricane Sandy disrupted a wide swath of the New York area's bustling entertainment industry.

City officials said that all film permits for Monday and Tuesday were revoked because of the hurricane and associated safety precautions.

Video of Letterman without an audience can be seen here.


"Star Wars" is headed to a new galaxy.

Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay more than $4 billion to acquire the company that controls the blockbuster "Star Wars" franchise -- allowing Disney to exploit the brand through film, television, consumer products and theme parks.

Disney plans to churn out new "Star Wars" movies every two or three years beginning in 2015 with "Star Wars Episode 7," Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said in conference call with analysts.

The acquisition surprised rival studios, especially 20th Century Fox, which has released all of the live-action "Star Wars" movies since the 1977 original. Executives at Fox and other studios said they weren't even offered a chance to bid for Lucasfilm, the San Francisco company founded and owned by filmmaker George Lucas.

Read more here.


Show off your "Thriller" moves tonight at NorthHalsted Halloween Parade.

As the nighttime Northalsted Halloween Parade winds through Lakeview on Wednesday, creatures are expected to re-create moves made legendary in the 1983 hit music video "Thriller."

Precisely when and where the group performs is a secret; the "Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse" thrill dance, open to the public, is a flash-mob style tribute to the late artist Michael Jackson.

If you want to participate, you should arrive by 6 p.m. in costume tonight. The parade will travel south on Halsted from Waveland to Belmont.

Register at dawnofthezombieapocalypse.com for email and text updates on the flash mob.

Sabrina Bryan exits 'Dancing with the Stars' in shocker

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Sabrina Bryan was shown the ballroom door ---- again ---- as she was voted off "Dancing with the Stars: All Stars" tonight. The former Cheetah Girl had been voted ON to the show's celebrity roster this season by fans, beating out Kyle Massey and Carson Kressley for the final slot.

What made the results even more shocking was that Bryan was joined by two other couples in the "jeopardy" zone who, with Bryan and her partner Louis Van Amstel, had received the three highest scores Monday night for their solo performances. Apolo Ohno and his partner Karina Smirnoff, and Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani, were also at risk of exiting the show, as all three couples had received the lowest combined judges' scores and fan votes over the past two weeks of competition (weeks 5 and 6 were combined into one results show).

Bryan completely broke down into tears while saying good-bye to her fellow competitors.

Host Tom Bergeron summed it up best when he said "week six sucks," referring to the fact that Bryan had also been voted off in a shocker on week six of her original "DWTS" competition during season 5 (after receiving similarly high scores from the judges).

Fans of the cult favorite Arrested Development are atwitter with Conan's twitter.

The late-night talk show host tweeted what he deems the first official photo from the show, slated to premiere on Netflix early next year.

Spoiler alert: He wrote "I'm an amazing actor," linking to a picture of himself with Andy Richter and Jason Bateman. Here's hoping they're in character.

Terry Crews and Isla Fisher are said to join the Bluth family in season four.

Returning to his local comedy roots, legendary standup and former Second City mainstage star Robert Klein -- whom Jerry Seinfeld counts as one of his biggest influences -- plays UP Comedy Club in Old Town Nov. 9 through 11. A veteran stage/screen performer and a mainstay of HBO (he taped his latest and ninth special in 35 years -- "Unfair and Unbalanced" -- in 2010), Klein focuses these days on age, aging, politics -- and whatever else is on his always curious mind. Expect original song parodies, too, done with longtime accompanist and co-composer/-co-lyricist Bob Stein.

Tickets $25
For more info: www.upcomedyclub.com

An alum of Chicago's iO Theater and the famed Second City comedy troupe (where he worked with the likes of Chris Farley, Tim Meadows and Joel Murray), Evanston native Pat Finn stars in a new live-action comedy series called "Marvin, Marvin." It's scheduled to premiere Thanksgiving weekend on Nickelodeon. Pat's other TV work includes appearances on "Third Rock from the Sun," "Friends" and "Seinfeld."

Barbra Streisand dazzles at the United Center

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It was pure serendipity that legendary songstress Barbra Streisand began her Friday night concert at the United Center with a gorgeous rendition of "On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever," the haunting and lovely ballad from the 1965 Broadway musical of the same name. As the lyrics proclaim: "On a clear day/How it will astound you/ that the glow of your being/outshines every star."

Streisand not only glowed, she was positively luminous in her glittery black ensemble, stylishly longer hair (and almost no makeup), literally ascending from far beneath the stage floor to a thunderous ovation from nearly 20,000 of her closest pals. And outshine every star she did, turning in nearly three hours of song, anecdotes, video clips, political swipes (she is famously Democrat), and guest stars that included the Italian trio Il Volo and the ever-jazzy trumpeter Chris Botti.

The singer endeared herself from the get-go, proclaiming her love for Chicago's architecture, and reminding those old enough to remember that she first played here when she was just 18, at the legendary piano bar/lounge that was Mr. Kelly's.

Billed as her Back to Brooklyn tour, the evening was filled with nostalgia, from a video montage of photos from Streisand's childhood, to a "summer 1979" short film featuring her borough neighbors singing the praises of their favorite singer, to a special video "birthday card" from Streisand's son (more on that later), to a loving tribute to the late composer Marvin Hamlisch, whom Streisand first met when he was the rehearsal pianist for the Broadway production of "Funny Girl," the musical that propelled Streisand to superstardom.

Accompanied by a full orchestra, standouts on this night included a stunning turn on the Rodgers and Hart classic "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," a poignant "The Way We Were" (using Hamlisch's original orchestrations), the hugely emotional Jimmy Webb scorcher "Didn't We?," and a sizzling and soulful take on Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do?" (with Botti on the trumpet) that seemed to conjure up the kind of dark, smoke-filled rooms that Streisand played when she was an unknown nightclubber singing for rent money along New York's endless lounge circuit of the early1960s.

And though the upper register of Streisand's vocals were just a tad light on two of her most iconic songs, "People" and "Evergreen," it mattered little. At 70, the singer still possesses one of the most pristine voices in music, a voice that completely and sumptuously envelops a room, even one the size of the cavernous United Center. There is an intimacy and honesty in Streisand's delivery, a caressing of lyrics --- all rare treats in this age of lip-synched, overblown concert extravaganzas.

The evening was a family affair, too, as Streisand's son Jason Gould (from her long-ago marriage to actor Elliott Gould) joined his mother on stage for a duet of "How Deep is the Ocean" followed by a solo effort on "This Masquerade."

And in the second-to-last offering of the night, Streisand surprised everyone with the arrival of her sister, cabaret singer Roslyn Kind, who joined her most famous sibling in a rousing counterpoint duet of "Happy Days Are Here Again/Forget Your Troubles Come on Get Happy" (much like Streisand and Judy Garland once belted out in 1963 on the latter's television show).

At one point early on, Streisand was accompanied by Il Volo (three young tenors, ages 17, 18 and 19, who possess ridiculously gorgeous voices that belie their tender years) in a lovely duet of "Smile," the Charlie Chaplin classic that has become a staple for both Streisand and the trio in their concerts. It was the perfect bookend to "Here's to Life," a syrupy anthem that came near the concert's finale, with lyrics along the lines of "having no regrets." After 50 years in show business, Streisand is all smiles--- embracing life, she told her audience, living in the moment, with nary a regret in sight. Happy days, indeed.

Barbra Streisand, in town for her big concert at the United Center tonight, took time out to catch daughter-in-law Diane Lane starring in "Sweet Bird of Youth" at the Goodman Theatre Thursday night. (Lane is married to actor Josh Brolin, the son of Streisand's hubby Josh Brolin).
Lane had been sidelined for two performances due to laryngitis (Wednesday night's performance was cancelled, while actress Natasha Lowe filled in for the Wednesday matinee) but returned for the Thursday night show.
"Sweet Bird of Youth" runs through Sunday at the theater.


By now, you've probably got a costume. Whether it's as one of the Avengers, someone famous you look up to or some other fun costume.

But if you're still trying to figure out where to go on Halloween or the weekend before to party, check out this list.

There's also a list for where you can take kids and families for Halloween and sites for Chicago-area haunted houses.

And in honor of Halloween, the Music Box Theatre at 3733 N. Southport is showing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on three days, including Halloween. Friday and Saturday at 11:59 p.m. and Oct. 31 at 10 p.m., you can catch performers acting in front of the screen during the film. You can advance tickets here.

Lastly, the third annual Roosevelt Road Zombie Walk and Pub Crawl kicks off Saturday at 7pm. A bar crawl that ends with an afterparty at FitzGerald's, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd., featuring food, horror films and more. Tickets are $15, with proceeds benefiting West Suburban PADS. But you must be at least 21 to participate.

It was the shot heard around the music world. A catchy tune and a horse dance launched a worldwide craze and more than a half-billion views on YouTube. South Korean rapper PSY's take on the high life in an expensive Seoul neighborhood counts fans on all continents, including celebrities asking for lessons. Here's how a song became a hit:

July 15, 2012: South Korean rapper PSY uploads the video "Gangnam Style" to YouTube. The single is the first from his sixth album, "PSY6 (Six Rules, Part 1)." The video receives 500,000 hits on the first day.

July 29: Rapper T-Pain tweets a link with "Words cannot even describe how amazing this video is." In the ensuing days, Robbie Williams, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Tom Cruise and Joseph Gordon-Levitt tweet links to the song.

Aug. 21: Katy Perry tweets: "Help, I'm in a gangnam style k hole" to her 25 million followers. PSY responds "Hi...I'm the very 'PSY' of the video. k k. This is a H~~~uge pleasure to be introduced by U~!!! Please follow me if Possible~! kk"

Sept. 6: PSY dances with comedian Kevin Hart at the MTV Music Video Awards.

Sept. 10: Britney Spears receives a one-on-one lesson from PSY on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Sept. 14: PSY performs on "The Today Show" and teaches the morning crew and "Meet the Press" host David Gregory how to "Gangnam."

Sept. 27: While visiting South Korea to promote Google's Nexus 7, CEO Eric Schmidt boogies down with PSY. The same day "Gangnam Style" makes YouTube history (and a Guiness Guinness world record) for having the most likes.

Oct. 14: During the media day at the Korean Grand Prix, the rapper tutors the Red Bull Formula One team drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Oct. 16: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine gets the lesson from PSY.

Oct. 18: Dwight Howard video blogs his moves backstage on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "Gangnam style has helped me strengthen my core and lower back," Howard said. "I've got a great PT program, but this dance has taken me to the next level."

Oct. 23: PSY brings "Gangnam Style" to the United Nations, where Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jokes: "I'm a bit jealous. Until two days ago someone told me I am the most famous Korean in the world. Now I have to relinquish. I have no regrets." Ban rode the invisible pony with PSY.


Joe and Tina Simpson -- the parents of singers-actresses Jessica and Ashlee Simpson -- are splitting up.

Tina filed the official divorce papers in McLennan County, Texas last month, according to Entertainment Tonight. The legal reason for the separation, according to the papers: "The marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities."

The National Enquirer reported that Joe Simpson gathered the family to break the news he has a boyfriend, and was coming out of the closet. Simpson's family released a statement in response to that story, denying any third party.

"It is an amicable split and there is no third party involved," a Simpson family rep tells People. "Any other related allegations are completely false. The family appreciates your respect for their privacy at this time."

Joe and Tina were married in 1978 and they both played roles in the professional careers of their daughters. Joe was a producer on the MTV reality series "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" starring Jessica Simpson and then-husband Nick Lachey. Joe Simpson also produced several of Jessica's movies including "Employee of the Month" and "Blonde Ambition" as well as Ashlee's film "Undiscovered."


Fox announced a start up date for "American Idol," "'Touch" and "The Following."

The network has set premiere dates for the 12th season of American Idol, which will kick off with a two-night event on Jan. 16 and 17.

Network execs are hopeful that the buzz surrounding new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban will translate to big ratings for "American Idol."

The following Monday, Jan. 21, will see the debut of the Kevin Bacon-James Purefoy psychological thriller "The Following." And on Friday, Feb. 1, Fox will roll out its ratings-challenged Kiefer Sutherland effort, "Touch," for its second season.


Tom Cruise has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Life & Style magazine, claiming the mag defamed him by reporting he had abandoned 6-year-old Suri, TMZ reports.

Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields says: "Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri. She's a vital part of his life and always will be. To say he has 'abandoned' her is a vicious lie. To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible."

Fields goes on: "Tom doesn't go around suing people. He's not a litigious guy. But when these sleaze peddlers try to make money with disgusting lies about his relationship with his child, you bet he's going to sue."

Fields says any money Cruise gets from the magazine will go to charity.

Oprah Winfrey sat down with Justin Bieber at Ralph Lauren's RL restaurant today for an interview that will air around Thanksgiving on her OWN network.

Bieber was in town for his two sold-out shows concert at Allstate Arena.

Sun-Times' Bill Zwecker has the scoop.

Oprah retweeted pictures of herself with Justin Bieber here.


Tonight's performance of "Sweet Bird of Youth" at the Goodman Theater has been canceled because of star Diane Lane's laryngitis. Lane is expected to return to the show on Thursday, Hedy Weiss reports.


It's been sequelized and remade over the years, but many still consider John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic "Halloween" as the best one.

For those who were too young the first time or just want to see it again in theaters, now is your chance.

Trancas International Films, Compass International Pictures and Screenvision are bringing "Halloween" back to over five hundred cinemas across the country this week, in a limited engagement.

Fans will also get to see a new 10-minute mini-documentary, "You Can't Kill The Boogeyman," which will screen before "Halloween," giving an overview of the history and impact of Carpenter's classic.

Screenings start tomorrow. You can go here to see which theaters are playing it and buy tickets.

Three renditions of Romeo and Juliet's forbidden love will be told in three different languages by South Shore Opera Company.

There will be scenes from Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi," Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" and Bernstein's "West Side Story" Saturday at its annual concert and dinner.

The event will be held at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive, starting at 5:30 p.m.

It's $80 for the concert and dinner. The concert only is $30. Students and seniors would pay $20.

Purchase tickets and find out more here.


The DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th St., presents "Art, Wine and Entertainment," Friday from 7pm to 10pm.

The event, in conjunction with the museum's "Buried Treasures in African-American Museums" exhibit, will feature work by artists including Henry O. Tanner and Elizabeth Catlett, as well as live art demonstrations, music, spoken word and a museum tour. Tickets are $10.

For more information, call 773-947-0600 x290.

WBEZ is hosting the Chef Battle Royale tonight at 6pm at Salvage One, 1840 W. Hubbard St.

"The Morning Shift" host Tony Sarabia will lead a discussion with food bloggers and dining scene personalities while attendees sample Ethiopian food from Ras Dashen, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes from Tank Noodle, Polish food from Restaurant Staropolska, Puerto Rican specialties from Borinquen and vegetarian fare from Munch. Black Dog Gelato will also offer Goose Island root beer floats, and Intelligentsia and Goose Island Beer will be served. Tickets are $10 for students, $12 for WBEZ members and $15 for the general public.

And in another event, foodies from around Chicago share stories about their passion, while attendees get appetizers. Speakers of "EAT THIS! Stories for the Love of Food" will include Hot Doug's owner Doug Sohn and Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance or at the door.


Having a romantic dinner? Chances are you like to listen to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."

Taking a spin on the dance floor with your partner? Abba's "Dancing Queen," Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" and Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" are on that VIP list.

And for sex, there's nothing like turning up Dirty Dancing's soundtrack.

At least, that's what a study of 2,000 people in the U.K. between the ages of 18 and 91, conducted by London music psychologist Daniel Mullensiefen, revealed the top 20 songs to play for just about every sexual innuendo.

USA Today has the full list for sex.

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Justin and now, Jessica Timberlake show photos from their wedding in Italy. Check them out.


"Dancing with the Stars" contestant Melissa Rycroft was rushed to an L.A. hospital Sunday after injuring herself while rehearsing a group number for tonight's show.

People.com has video of the accident.

In footage taken during the rehearsal, Rycroft's partner, Tony Dovolani, jumps over Rycroft and then pulls her by her arms between his legs along the ballroom floor. When she pops up, she immediately puts a hand to her neck, grimaces and cries out in pain. Later, she's also seen on the floor wiping tears away and holding her neck.

"Melissa Rycroft suffered an on-set injury during Sunday's camera blocking rehearsal and was immediately taken to the hospital," a rep tells PEOPLE. "We can confirm Melissa was diagnosed with a disc herniation at the C4-C5 level of her cervical spine. At this time, Melissa's ability to perform in tonight's show will be a show time decision."

Rycroft is one of the eight remaining all-star contestants competing on the show.

Brad Pitt is the first male spokesperson for Chanel 5. So it was probably a matter of time before someone would spoof the new TV ads.

"Saturday Night Live" took a crack at it. See the video here.


No go on Beyonce and Jay-Z getting the trademark for their daughter's name, Blue Ivy.

Back in January, the couple filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to get a trademark for their baby's unique name. Unfortunately for Beyonce and Jay-Z, a Boston event planning company has had the same name since 2009 and sued the couple for their attempt to gain the trademark. Blue Ivy events won the suit, meaning Beyonce and Jay-Z have no legal rights to their daughter's name.

Beyonce had planned to name a baby product line Blue Ivy.

The fierce American Indian activist died Monday morning at the age of 72.

Here is my report from a rather intense 1997 one on one interview, where he told me, in part, that he put a curse on the Cleveland Indians baseball team.

His father, by the way, was a member of the Pine Ridge (Reservation) High School basketball team that in 1936 won South Dakota's first state Class B tournament.


Whitney Young teacher takes on student in dance battle

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Whitney Young Dean of Students John Fanning just beat his students at their own game.

When a rambunctious student began dancing in circles on the second floor of the school and challenging nearby teachers to a dance battle it seemed that things may get out of hand.

The student cornered one teacher in the doorway of her classroom and performed some fancy footwork but was denied a challenge. The student then began playing to the room and dancing around the gathered crowd of students egging him on with cheers. This is when Fanning stepped up to the plate.

The Dean stood his ground as the student 'foot-worked' inches in front of him and when it was his turn, busted out an Irish jig. The crowd went wild.

It was clear Fanning had won the battle.

The incident was caught on tape by YouTube user Jarayray Seashelle who uploaded the video with the description:

"What started out as a small prank (foot-working in front of random people after school) turned into a party on Whitney Young's 2nd floor the minute Mr."Thirst Gawd" Fanning decided to be the first person to strike back. Shout out to that man Norris, '13 ;)"


Directors Andy and Lana Wachowski, known for creating "The Matrix," opens up their home in Chicago to Sun-Times reporter Mike Thomas. They also talk about how Chicago inspired the idea for their new movie, "Cloud Atlas."

"Cloud Atlas," a time-hopping drama starring Tom Hanks and Halle Barry, was screened last week at the Chicago International Film Festival and opens commercially Friday.


A scene from a recent episode of Showtime's award-winning series "Homeland" that was filmed in Israel, but was supposed to be depicting Beirut has caused a stir between the two countries, CBS reports.

The show about Arab terrorists and American turncoats has inadvertently become a tale of two cities. Some Beirutis are angry because the depiction of their city as swarming with militiamen is misleading and because they see Israel as the enemy. And in Israel, some are angry that Haifa and even Tel Aviv - a self-styled nightlife capital and high-tech hub - apparently appear, to outsiders at least, to be Middle Eastern after all.

Lebanese Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told The Associated Press that he's so upset about the portrayal of Beirut that he's considering a lawsuit.

But don't fret, Showtime has still ordered a Season 3 for "Homeland," officials announced today.


It's a boy for Grammy-winning singer Adele.

A source told People.com that the British songstress, 24, has given birth to a baby boy.

"We are all over the moon," the source says.

There was no statement on her official website and her spokesman said "no comment" earlier today in reply to a request for confirmation.

There was also no word yet on what the little boy will be called.

Adele announced in June that she and her boyfriend Simon Kinecki were expected their first child together.


Academy Award nominee Viola Davis will receive the Chicago International Film Festival Career Achievement Award during the Festival's Black Perspectives program, joining the ranks of other celebrated actors including Morgan Freeman, Halle Berry and Sidney Poitier.

The event will be held tonight at the AMC River East 21 Theater. Catch Davis on the red carpet at 6:30 p.m.

The 48th Chicago International Film Festival runs until Oct. 25.


Singer-actor Justin Timberlake and actress Jessica Biel are now married, People magazine reports.

The couple were wed Friday before family and close friends at the Borgo Egnazia resort in the southern Italian city of Puglia, E!Online reported.

Among those attending the nuptials were "Saturday Night Live's" Andy Samberg, former 'N Sync member Chris Kirkpatrick, music producer Timbaland, and Biel's "7th Heaven" co-star Beverley Mitchell, said E!

Biel and Timberlake became engaged in late December after a romance that began in January 2007 but which suffered a three-month split in 2011, according to various media reports.

Funnyman Will Ferrell crashed the set of "Chelsea Lately" Wednesday night.

Ferrell rode in on a golf cart while wearing a Cubs jersey (Ferrell threw out the first pitch at Wrigley earlier this summer) and a Ron Burgundy mustache.

"This show's a joke" he deadpanned before launching into a rant against the talk show host.

Handler has the last laugh after Ferrell wheels off the set, "I can't take his body or when he talks."

Tom Hanks drops 'F-bomb' on 'Good Morning America'

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Oops. "Good Morning America" host Elizabeth Vargas had no idea what she was getting into when she prodded actor Tom Hanks to do the English accent of a character from his new movie "Cloud Atlas" during the show's live broadcast Friday. morning.

Ever the consummate actor, Hanks got a little too into character and dropped the 'F-bomb.'

The camera pans to Vargas who apologized, saying, "We are so sorry, 'Good Morning America.'"

Hanks also looked embarrassed and apologized, admitting, "I have never done that before."


Dave Matthews Band will be performing in Chicago on Dec. 5 at the United Center.

Sales are now available here.


The Cubs' season is long over -- but already we have the first Wrigley Field concert announcement for next season: Country star Jason Aldean will headline a concert July 20, 2013, with Kelly Clarkson, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett, Sun-Times' Thomas Conner reports.

Tickets go on sale Nov. 3.

Aldean is best known for his My Kinda Party, released in 2010.

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As the Chicago International Film Festival wraps up, a more personal neighborhood film festival is about to start. The 2nd annual Englewood Film Festival will run from Oct. 25 through Oct. 28.

The festival will feature films like TD Jakes' "A Million Colours," "I Ain't Scared Of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac" and more local films about Englewood.

For more information on tickets and the full schedule lineup, visit the festival's website.


Missed your chance to see "Book of Mormon" before it was sold out? You've still got a chance to get tickets until June 2.

"Book of Mormon" is showing at the Bank of America Theater, 18 West Monroe Street.

Composed by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the widely acclaimed play is an old-style musical with a modern sensibility.

Get your tickets here.


Beginning Wednesday, you can get a glimpse of how princely rulers of India rocked extravagant jewelry and traveled via bejeweled elephant.

At the Field Museum, "Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts," offers visitors a detailed look into the rarified world of the rulers of India from the 1700s to the 1940s, when India achieved independence from colonial Britain.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is Cartier's Patiala necklace, commissioned by a maharaja to show off some family jewels. Constructed in 1928, the necklace is made of diamonds, topazes, smoky quartz and other gems. It took three years to complete and was, at the time, the largest commission Cartier had ever received.

Also included in the exhibit are costumes, weapons and an elephant replica that didn't make the rounds in some of the other North American exhibit venues because of its size.

Read more about it in the Sun-Times.


Get to know Bronzeville art district by taking a trolley. This Friday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour will take its riders on landmark sites and educate them on the arts scene there.

The trolleys will run between the following locations throughout the night allowing riders to board and get off at any location: Faie African Art Gallery, 1005 E. 43rd St; Gallery Guichard, 3521 S. King Drive; and South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave.

At Faie, "The Bronzeville Age," featuring 10 artists, will be shown. The 2012 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, featuring artists selected from 550 submissions, will be held at the Gallery Guichard. And there will also be events held at the South Side art center. Food will also be served.

For more information, contact Andre Guichard at (773) 791-7003 or at andreguichard@yahoo.com.

The lineup for Next Up 2013, the third annual collaboration between Steppenwolf Theatre and Northwestern University's MFA programs in Direction and Design, has been announced. The project features the productions created by graduates of those programs who use casts of professional Chicago actors, Hedy Weiss reports.

The three shows selected, which will run in rotating repertory (May 28-June 16, 2013) in the Steppenwolf Garage at 1624 N. Halsted, include: Adam Bock's "The Drunken City" (about three young women's raucous adventures during a night out on the town prior to a wedding), directed by Johnny Michael DiResta; Anne Washburn's "The Internationalist," a brainy comedy about jet-lag and miscommunication of all sorts, directed by Erin Murray; and Neil LaBute's "Fat Pig," a meditation on weight discrimination and more, directed by David Prete.

Tickets to Next Up go on sale March 29, 2013. Call (312) 335-1650 or visit www.steppenwolf.org.

A federal judge has dismissed a civil rights lawsuit filed by two black men who said they were rejected for the starring role of "The Bachelor" on the popular ABC reality television show because of their race, Reuters reports.

The discrimination suit filed by Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson in Nashville federal court argued that ABC had never cast a person of color - African-American, Hispanic or Asian - in the show's central role as a matter of policy.

The men's goals were "laudable," but the rights of the show's producers to control their creative content are protected by the First Amendment, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled on Monday in dismissing the case.

Read the full story here.


"Kinky Boots," struts into Chicago tonight as a new stage musical by Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper and Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.

It will continue through Nov. 2, then it's on to Broadway.

Tony winner Fierstein adapted the same name 2005 film for the stage. "Kinky Boots" centers on a floundering British shoemaker who has his business saved when he partners with a drag performer named Lola to create fashionable and sturdy boots for some new flamboyant clientele. Grammy Award winner Lauper, whose hits include "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "True Colors," authored the original score, Playbill reports.

For tickets in Chicago, visit here.


Legendary singer Barbra Streisand has added performances in six additional cities besides her previously announced concerts in Brooklyn, N.Y., including one new site in Chicago.

Streisand will perform at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., on Oct. 26.

Tickets are available at LiveNation and Ticketmaster.


Bristol Palin hung in there for four rounds on "Dancing With the Stars: All Stars," but the audience sent her packing last night.

When Bristol competed in Season 11, she stuck around until finale night, placing third in the competition.

Bristol, the 21-year-old daughter of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and her professional partner Mark Ballas, performed a rock 'n' roll number that underwhelmed the judges and the audience and earned them the second lowest scores of the night.

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For ladies of a certain age, John Taylor broke hearts.

When the band had to cancel their August Ravinia Festival show in August due to Nick Rhodes illness, the fans whose allegiance to John were left waiting for his fall book release to get their fix.

The bassist and founding member of Duran Duran heads to City Winery Oct. 30 for an evening sharing stories from his new memoir, debuting stateside today, "In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran."

Tickets are $12 and are on Tuesday for Vinophile members, and on sale for the general public Thursday. Doors open at 5:30, and John Taylor hits the stage at 7:30. Superfans who have a copy of Taylor's book can seek his autograph.


More TV shows premiere this week, including "American Horror Story," "Emily Owens, M.D." and "Hunted." "Boss" also returns on Friday.

Find out which shows are worth checking out, according to Sun-Times' TV reporter Lori Rackl.


Spend one night with iconic Chicago film "The Blues Brothers" at the Music Box Theatre Nov. 27.

The next installment of the popular Sound Opinions at the Movies series brings Jake and Elwood back to the big screen, hosted by the rock and roll talk show hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot.

"We're in Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, and the best movie ever made about R&B," DeRogatis said. "The lights are going down at the Music Box Theatre... and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it!"

Advance tickets are $9 for WBEZ members and $10 in advance for the general public. Cash-only tickets also will be available at the door for $10.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has released a new cultural plan that has visions for the city as a whole and one for Chicago Public School specifically.

The citywide plan includes creating a new Museum Campus South that links the Museum of Science and Industry and DuSable Museum of African American History and making foreclosed properties available for cultural purposes. The plan also calls for more flexibility in city regulations governing the arts and aims to use Chicago's arts attractions to draw international tourists and promoting the development of what it calls "cultural districts" in areas such as Uptown and Bronzeville.

Chicago Public Schools, meanwhile, would elevate the arts to the level of a "core subject" -- with 120 minutes of dedicated weekly instruction for elementary students and "at least one certified, full-time employee" at every school, under the mayoral plan.

Read the full plan here. http://www.scribd.com/doc/110075868/Chicago-Cultural-Plan-Final-Plan


Smashing Pumpkins are coming to town on Oct. 19 for a concert at Allstate Arena. Tickets are still available for sale.


Two Chicago-area winners have a chance for stardom.

David Pavlina from Lake Zurich and Adam Johnson from Lombard were selected by Hollywood director Ron Howard as winners in "Project Imaginat10n," where five celebrity directors will direct short films based on consumer submitted photographs.

Contestants sent in photos for one of 9 different categories, each of which had a different objective. For instance, "Mood" was supposed to a photo that conveyed atmosphere, tone or emotion.

Pavlina was chosen as a winner in "Backstory," while Johnson was selected in the "Setting" category. A total of 91 winners were chosen.

That number will now be whittled down to 10 -- one winner for each category, plus an additional category that will be selected by Howard.

The ultimate winners will have their photo turned into a film by one of the celebrity directors -- Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, Georgina Chapman (designer and co-founder of Marchesa), James Murphy (founder of LCD Soundsystem) or Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter).

The winning photographs can be seen at imagination.usa.canon.com.


The city's unofficial fashion week, Fashion Focus Chicago, starts today and is scheduled to run through Oct. 21st.

The theme -- "You saw it on runway, now buy it!" -- says it all.

Local designers like "Fashion Star" Barbara Bates, Borris Powell and Lara Miller will be on hand to show their latest designs, and those in the audience will have an opportunity to buy the ones they love.

Tickets for each show are $35 for general admission and $95 for VIP, which includes a pre-party and preferred seating.

There will also be a host of shopping events throughout the city during Fashion Focus Chicago. Find out where here.

Goodman Theatre to host costume sale

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Just in time for Halloween, the Goodman Theatre is hosting a costume sale (the first one in five years) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at the theater, 170 N. Dearborn.
costumes-CST-101412.JPGPrices start at $1. The sale includes items from numerous Goodman productions such as "Passion Play" (2007), "Turn of the Century" (2008, pictured at left), "Animal Crackers" (2009), "Candide" (2010) and "Camino Real" (2011) among many others.
It's cash-and-carry only, and all sales are final.

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Former rednecks hoping to forget their mud-slinging, beer-chugging origins beware is the premise behind "Redneck Rehab" on CMT.

Hosted by a "redneck specialist" Tom Arnold, this week's all-new episode of Redneck Rehab will feature a Chicagoan guy named Russell Herrando.

The episode will air on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m.


One of Oprah's most popular features of her daytime show is returning as a two-hour event on Sunday Nov. 18 on OWN, Winfrey announced.

Winfrey, who loved to outdo herself year after year, said in a press release that the recipients for the secret gift bonanza this year will be military spouses. For the first time ever, viewers at home will also have a chance to win stuff, by texting in during certain parts of the program.


It's not every day that Broadway gets such big names performing.

Oscar winner Tom Hanks will make his Broadway debut as a gutsy New York City newspaper columnist in Nora Ephron's play "Lucky Guy."

Ephron, who died of cancer in June, gained recognition as the writer of films such as "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," which starred Hanks.

Hanks is also the star of such films as "Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia," "Apollo 13" and "Saving Private Ryan."

An opening night for "Lucky Guy" is set for Apr. 1.

New York Times has the story.

Elvis Presley one-time California home for sale

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The Associated Press is reporting that the former Beverly Hills home of the late Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla is up for sale for a cool $12.9 million.
Real estate website operator Trulia says the home hit the market Wednesday.
Like Elvis' home in Memphis, known as Graceland, Elvis fans have for years flocked to visit the property.

According to the listing, the four-bedroom, five-bathroom French Regency estate sits on a 1.18 acre promontory overlooking Los Angeles.

According to Elvis Presley Enterprises, Presley first rented the house before the couple bought it in 1967. It was sold it several years later, after Elvis and Priscilla divorced.

The estate was formally available to lease for $25,000 a month.

By Adrian Sainz/AP


Donald Trump reveals who made the cut for this season's "Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars" on this morning's "Today."

Among those who will be returning to the board room are Omarosa Manigault, Bret Michaels and Gary Busy. A local Chicagoan, Marilu Henner, will also be returning to the board.

See the full list.


The Museum of Science and Industry offers a host of hair-raising activities, events and exhibits that will help you ring in the Halloween season in style.

They include odd hauntings and happenings that occur on the historic Zephyr train, education about mummy tombs and showings of the 1910 silent film version of "Frankenstein."

The events will run from Oct. 13 to Oct. 31. Go here for more information.


Chicago-born Jennifer Hudson paid homage to the late Whitney Houston here with her bouncy curls and hot pink lips before taping "We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston" last night in Los Angeles.

The special airs Nov. 16 on CBS.


You've probably seen Millennium Park, Wrigley Field and the John Hancock Center. But what about more off-the-beat places in Chicago that also define our city?

Places like the South Shore's Mosque Maryam or Park Gables, a Tudor Revival apartment complex in Rogers Park.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Open House Chicago will give you a chance to see more of the defining architecture in Chicago by providing free access to nearly 190 sites in 13 neighborhoods.

Sun-Times' Thomas Connors has more information.


Oscar winner Al Pacino, in town last night for the 48th annual Chicago International Film Festival, says there's one thing that would draw him back to Chicago.

Bill Zwecker tells what it is.

A perfect Sunday

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In "Sunday in the Park with George," actors bring to life the famous painting of French impressionist Georges Seurat, which is featured in The Art of Institute.

Book your tickets to this limited engagement today, which has been extended to Nov. 11, at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand, on Navy Pier.

"Sunday in the Park" was originally scheduled to end Nov. 4.


Wendella Chicago Water Taxi will offer free rides all day Thursday in celebration of the service's 50th anniversary.

The company will also donate $3 for every rider to The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

The water taxis run every day from 6:45 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. with stops along the Chicago River at the Wrigley Building, Reid-Murdoch Center and Ogilvie Transportation Center. On weekends, water taxis also stop at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown.

The taxi service has transported millions of commuters between Michigan Avenue and the Union and Ogilvie train stations since its launch in 1962. It's owned by the Wendella Sightseeing Company, a fourth-generation family business that has operated boat tours since 1935.


The actors from NBC's new show "Chicago Fire" talk about why they love filming in Chicago. The general consensus was that Chicago has the nicest people around.

View the video.


Three of the most high-profile shows premieres tonight. In addition to "Chicago Fire," tonight is also the debut of "Nashville" on ABC and "Arrow" on CW.

TV Guide weighs in on which ones are good and which ones need some work.

To mark the opening of the 18th season of The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, a famous piece will be shown, free of charge, at local libraries from Oct. 24 through Oct. 26.

Find out where "The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice" will be showing and when.

Have a craving for something sweet? Hideout has you covered.

But I'll warn you. You'll have to work for it.

Tonight's Chicago Cakewalk features a game where participants will walk, dance or otherwise move around in a circle as music plays. Then when the music stops, a winner will win a cake from one of the local bakeries.

There will also be a live music bank and plenty of booze at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., in Wicker Park/Bucktown.

The event starts at 6 p.m.

After Monday night's judges' scores and audience votes, it was a bit of a shock Tuesday night to find Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel along with Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower standing in the creepy red light awaiting their fate on the "Dancing with the Stars All-Stars" results show.

It was double-elimination night, and season 2 champ Drew Lachey was already sent packing 30 minutes earlier. Alas, luck ran out for season 5 champ Helio Castroneves as he was sent packing, too.

The big shock was learning that Bristol Palin will dance another day, even though she and partner Mark Ballas were at the bottom of the leader board Monday night.

We've seen it before; Palin's fan base is one of the largest and strongest of any competitor in the history of the show. In 2010, Palin made it all the way to the finals even though her scores found her consistently near the bottom of the leader board for a majority of the season.

Next week, it's all about celebs' choices for their co-competitors. Should prove to be an interesting night of dancing.

For the first time in the history of "Dancing with the Stars," the celebs and their partners got to choose the dances for the other competitors for next week's show.

There should have been strategy in play (stick it to your rival or play nice?), but some of the choices proved less than smart moves by some of the dancing duos.

To wit: next week's dance line up will play out thusly:

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas selected "Bollywood" dance for Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd;

Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy selected "disco dance" for Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel;

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy selected the bolero for rivals Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke;

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani selected hip-hop for Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff;

Apolo and Karina seleted the jitterbug for Melissa and Tony;

Emmitt and Cheryl selected "contemporary dance for Kelly and Val;

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough selected the "Broadway" dance for Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower;

Sabrina and Louis selected the Charleston for Kirstie and Max;

Bristol and Mark were left with "rock 'n' roll' dance as the last of the bunch.

This was after Drew Lachey (season two champ) was sent packing from the ballroom as the first casualty of a double-elimination results show.

Bailiwick Chicago Theater is hosting its "Chicago Casting Auction," where you can win the chance to be cast in their upcoming production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

More than 60 roles (including leading and major roles) will be up for bid on Oct. 27 at the Dank Haus German American Cultural Center Grand Ballroom, 4740 N. Western. Once you're "bid," you become a "Player," who must then win that role by getting enough bids from friends and supporters at the event. (Players may be asked to display their musical/acting talents).

The event will also feature live entertainment, food, an open bar, silent auction (for supporting and chorus roles) and professional photo booth. Tickets, $29 - $75, and complete rules and information, are available at www.castingauction.com. Doors open at 6 p.m. The live auction gets under way at 7 p.m.

Winners will sign up for five weeks of rehearsals culminating in a public production of "Joseph" Jan. 31, 2013-Feb. 2, 2013, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets go on sale Jan. 1, 2013 at www.castingauction.com.

It was a night of surprise announcements on "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars." First came the news that Paula Abdul would guest star on Oct. 15 as one of the judges for the hit series.

That was followed about a half-hour later by the news that for the first time ever, the celebs next week (also the 15th) will pick the dance styles for each other.

Will they be cruel or kind? Hey, there IS a mirrorball trophy at stake, isn't there?

Paula Abdul heading to 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Next Monday --- that would be Oct. 15 --- Paula Abdul will pick up the ballroom scoring paddles when she joins "Dancing with the Stars" for a guest star stint as an official judge. It will be her first time judging ballroom dance on the show, which has made use of guest judges in the past.

Abdul served as a judge on "American Idol" from 2002 to 2009; she was also on the judging panel for the first season of "X Factor" until she exited that series earlier this year.

Want to be an actor in theater, but not sure where to start? A Taste of Theater may help.

Beginning Oct. 12, A Taste of Theater will provide two days for participants, which include daytime topics of scripts, funding, and costumes. Then in the evening, there will be performances showcase playwrights from round the country.

Registration to the A Taste of Theater Festival includes the classes and a seat at these performances.

Big changes could be coming to Chicago's riverwalk.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has unveiled plans to expand the riverwalk another six blocks along Chicago's River.

See what it could look like.


"Chicago Fire" will premiere Wednesday at 9 p.m. As the name implies, it's a show about firefighters that features a familiar Chicago as its backdrop.

Lori Rackl dishes on whether its worth our time.


Like extras in a zombie movie, thousands of bent over, hobbling runners -- some dragging one leg or the other -- shuffled through Grant Park Sunday after finishing the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Sun-Times reports.

Even so, fewer Chicago Marathon runners ended up in the hospital this year. The most serious was a 47-year-old who went into cardiac arrest but survived.

And with a record 37,455 finishers, the Marathon ran out of medals for finishers. Kenyan Tsegaye Kebede won, setting a new course record.

Read more here.

For those of a certain age, the most romantic scene ever filmed had John Cusack's Lloyd Dobler serenading Ione Skye's Diane Court with a boombox. In the driveway. Underneath her window. With '80s teen slow-dance anthem "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.

Who needs Shakespeare?

During Peter Gabriel's 25th anniversary tour stop Saturday at the Hollywood Bowl, John Cusack stepped out on stage with a throwback boombox and handed to Gabriel.

The singer lifted it above his head before launching into the iconic song. The film's director, Cameron Crowe, was in the audience and later tweeted "Peter Gabriel and John Cusack on stage together at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. Won't forget that... ever."


Is "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" your only experience to a Greek film? If so, here's a chance to broaden your experience.

Greek Film Fest Chicago 2012 runs until Oct. 8.

It will feature films such as "Kisses to the Children" on Oct. 8. The movie, which will be shown at The Film Row Cinema, tells the story of children saved by Christians in a German-occupied Greece.

Venues also include Gene Siskel Film Center, Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge and the National Hellenic Museum.

Lunafest is bringing its traveling, female-centric short film to Chicago tonight.

Each year, Lunafest makes stops at more than 150 stops across North America to spotlight the work of a diverse array of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes. In the process, all of its proceeds are donated to nonprofits such as the Breast Cancer Fund.

The cocktail reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St., followed by the film screening at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 to $50.


If it seems like you're seeing more TV shows with gay characters, it's not your imagination.

A new analysis done by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) says network TV is at a record high, and the total on cable television is also going up.

The 17th-annual "Where We Are on TV" report released today by GLAAD found that 4.4 percent of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series during the 2012-13 season will portray lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters. This is up from 2.9 percent in 2011, which saw a dip in what had been a growing annual trend.

The study reviewed 97 scripted TV programs scheduled to air in the upcoming season on the broadcast networks, counting a total of 701 series regular characters. The study found that 31 of them are LGBT characters.

Whether you are a beginner or have been drawing for years, you are invited to paint outdoors, as part of the Big Draw 2012.

Artists of Eastbank will lead two sketching sessions -- one focusing on an urban location and one focusing on a natural landscape.

The event will be held at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St., on Oct. 14th from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

You are asked to bring your own materials.

For more information, email Gary Link, halraeburn@hotmail.com, or visit www.thebigdrawchicago.tumblr.com


The 48th Chicago International Film Festival will kick off on Oct. 11 and run through Oct. 25.

Among the films that will be featured is action-comedy Stand Up Guys, which was produced by Chicago native Tom Rosenberg. The film's stars -- Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Juliana Margulies, Fisher Stevens - will attend the red-carpet gala to be held in the Windy City.

The festival will close with Chicago-born Robert Zemeckis' mystery thriller Flight, which stars Denzel Washington as a pilot who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe.

To see what other films will be featured at the AMC River East, visit the official site.


Chicago Marathon is on Sunday.

Today's Sun-Times' paper has what you need to know, such as where runners and spectators can fuel up during the race.

Also check out these items:
- when and where to be there for the big day
- experts give cautious advice to drink enough -- but not too much

And for those of you who aren't running (and want to avoid the crowd), find out what the course of the marathon will be here.

JetBlue offering free tickets to 'leave the country'

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In a marketing gimmick that piggybacks on next month's presidential election, JetBlue is offering a way for Americans to make good on threats to leave the country if "the other guy" wins, according to a story by the Associated Press.

The New York airline said Wednesday that it will give away 2012 seats, or 1,006 round-trip flights, for customers that come out on the losing end of the battle between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Travelers who visit jetblue.com/electionprotection and pick their choice for President will be entered into the contest to win a (temporary) escape outside the U.S. JetBlue's international routes include Mexico and the Caribbean.

The free flight would not include taxes, fees or a hotel.

By Samantha Bomkamp, Associated Press Writer

Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan is being sued by "Grey's Anatomy" Eric Dane and Dane's wife actress Rebecca Gayheart because a tree from his property fell on his neighbor Dane's house, the suit says. The couple claim the tree could have injured or killed then-pregnant Gayheart.

Riccardo Muti, ever the maestro, on 'Charlie Rose'

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The always charming Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, sat down Tuesday for a wide-ranging interview with PBS host Charlie Rose. Muti and the CSO are in New York City this week to launch Carnegie Hall's 2012-13 season with three concerts, beginning with Orff's "Carmina Burana."

Among Muti's many excellent soundbites:

His possible epitaph: "Here lies Riccardo Muti, a crazy man who tried [forever] to find a correct quaver."

The march of time: "If a conductor needs more than 30 seconds to travel from the door to the podium, it's time to think about retirement."

The world's best orchestras: "Chicago ... and then Vienna and Berlin."

If you missed the telecast, watch it online at charlierose.com

And check suntimes.com for Andrew Patner's coverage of the CSO's current tour.

Garth Brooks ends 3-year run in Las Vegas

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Garth Brooks will bring down the curtain on his hugely popular show at the Encore Theater Wynn Las Vegas on Nov. 17.

Of the show, which was more a journey through the music that shaped his life rather than a concert, Brooks said in a prepared statement:

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Wynn. Mr. [Steve] Wynn told me that the Wynn audiences were some of the best in the world and he was right!"

Brooks' shows were weekend-only affairs, and select weekends throughout the year, making tickets ($253) among the highest-priced and most sought-after on the Strip. Rumors about Brooks' return to full-out concert touring have been swirling for the past few years, with the singer dropping a few hints along the way about getting back to music once his youngest daugther started college (that would be 2014).

Tickets for the final shows, Oct. 5-6; Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 16-17 are available www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-877-65-GARTH. For more information visit www.wynnlasvegas.com.

Read a Sun-Times review of Garth Brooks at the Wynn Las Vegas.


John Legend's next album is taking longer than he expected to finish, so crooner John Legend has called off his fall tour, including a Nov. 7 date at the Chicago Theatre. Refunds are available at the point of purchase.

has that and other details.


Miss "In Loving Color" or "The Wayans Bros"? Here's your chance to see two of the stars, Shawn and Marlon Wayans, perform live at Chicago Improv Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are available now.

The life and work of Maggie Daley, Chicago's beloved former first lady, will be featured in the Dia de los Muertos -- or Day of the Dead -- exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

"Maggie Daley: A Tribute by Chicago's Youth" opens with a 6 p.m. reception Thursday. The exhibit is comprised of approximately 25 pieces of art created by about 30 Chicago youth through Daley's arts education program, After School Matters, as well as the Yollocalli Arts Reach, the museum's arts education component, which receives After School Matters funding.

The annual Dia de los Muertos exhibit, which runs from September through mid-February, is the museum's most popular and celebrates the lives of the recently departed, whether they are well-known members in the Pilsen and Little Village communities or national luminaries.

Joey Fatone exits 'Dancing with the Stars' all-stars

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Joey Fatone is the latest "All Star" to exit the "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom.

It all came down to Helio Castroneves, Kelly Monaco and Joey Fatone, standing in the eerie red light to learn their fate.

First to learn they were "safe" were Kelly and partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

After combining the judges' scores and viewer votes, Helio and Joey were the bottom two (Helio being a former "DWTS" champ!). Alas, a smiling and relieved Fatone summed it all up thusly, upon learning his fate: I'm going to a wedding tomorrow so I don't give a damn!"

Leading the pack after week two is fan favorite Sabrina Bryan who wowed the ballroom Monday night with partner Louis Van Amstel.

Next week, the usual surprise "twists and turns" commence with a double-elimination: Two all-stars will be sent packing.

Willing to share a secret family recipe? Prepare it for the Master Chef scouts and you could pack your knives and head out to compete on the next series. Gordon Ramsey and his team -- restauranteur Joe Bastianich and Chicago chef Graham Elliot -- are searching for the next best home cook.

Amateur cooks who have the talent for creating meals for people who crave your leftovers are invited to the open casting call for the hit show. Come prepared to offer tastings -- there are no kitchen facilities -- though contestants are given time to plate the dishes.

Visit MasterChefCasting.com for more information and to pre-register. Interested chefs can aIf you are unable to access our website to pre-register, simply show up to one of our casting calls with your dish and a smile.

The Master Chefs open casting call is Oct. 20 at Le Cordon Bleu, 361 W. Chestnut St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For those Pregnant in Heels and looking for advice from a glam yummy mummy, Rosie Pope has the answers.

The Bravo TV star and mother of three coaches New York City moms on everything from CPR to style advice. She's compiled the tricks of her trade in her new book Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy. Pope heads to Chicago Oct. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. for an appearance at Water Tower Place's newly renovated Pea in the Pod store. The author will sign copies and answer questions from expectant mothers.

Stylists from Chicago's only blow-out salon Blowtique Cwill be on hand for complimentary styling.

Dave Matthews Band headed to Chicago

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Hot on the heels of their latest release, "Away From the World," the Dave Matthews Band winds its way to Chicago with a tour stop at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison, on Dec. 5.
Tickets for the show (for DMB Warehouse Fan Association Members only) will go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 4. General on-sale is 10 a.m. Oct. 19.
Visit www.davematthewsband.com for more information.

When coworkers tout the tastiness of a ham and cheese sandwich in a pint glass -- the Chicago Beer Festival has the suds to prove it.

While Munich has its month-long paean to brew, Chicago's Octoberfest season is fleeting, with a few bar nights and even fewer street festivals. Union Station is host to more than 50 brews from coast to coast, so regional favorites are tapped all in one spot.

Much like Baconfest, there are two sessions. The first is from 1 to 4 p.m.; the second starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 and will not be sold at the door.

At 50, 'Lawrence of Arabia' returns to the big screen

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David Lean's iconic film "Lawrence of Arabia" is celebrating its 50th anniversary with one-day special matinee and/or evening screenings at more than 630 theaters across the country, including nearly 30 in the Chicago area.


Fully restored, the film (with its 216-minutes running time) stars Peter O'Toole (in the title role), Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn in the story of an idealistic British officer amid the WWI Allied campaign in the Middle East who, over a series of life-changing events, leads an Arab tribal chieftain and his forces in rebellion against the Turks.

The film won seven Oscars including best picture in 1962, and is listed as the 7th film on the American Film Institute's "100 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.

Local theaters include Randhurst Village 12 (Mt. Prospect); River East 21 (Chicago); the Streets of Woodfield (Schaumburg); Naperville 16 (Naperville); South Barrington 30 (Barrington); Yorktown 17 (Lombard); Northbrook Court 14 (Northbrook); Michigan City 14 (Michigan City, Ind.); New Lenox 14 (New Lenox); Niles 12 (Niles); Schererville 16 (Schererville, Ind.); Village Crossing 18 (Skokie); City North 14 (Chicago); Randall 15 (Batavia, Ill.).

For a complete list of theaters, show times and ticket information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

Ice skating season returns to Millennium Park

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Time to think winter fun in the city: The ice skating rink in Millenniium Park opens to the public on Nov. 16 (weather permitting).
Located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison, the skating is free; skate rentals are $10.
Daily hours will be noon to 8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. (through Dec. 22), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m Sat. (beginning Jan. 5); 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun. Special holiday hours will be in effect for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.
Visit www.millenniumpark.org.


ABC announced that "Family Guy" Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th Oscars on Feb. 24.

"It's truly an overwhelming privilege to be asked to host the Oscars," said MacFarlane in a statement. "My
thoughts upon hearing the news were, one, I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set
forth by my predecessors; and two, I hope they don't find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen roast."

MacFarlane made his feature directorial debut this summer with "Ted." He also co-wrote and produced the film, and voiced the title character. He hosted "Saturday Night Live's" season premiere last month.

Let's hope he's got the microphone thing down pat before the Academy Awards. He stood in front of the wrong mic while presenting an Emmy at the recent TV awards show, making him inaudible. When he realized the mistake, he cracked a joke about that being what happens when you don't show up for rehearsal.

How do you think MacFarlane will do?Oscars Seth MacFarlane.jpg


Starting today at 11 p.m., fans can buy tickets in advance for the next Twilight movie at Showplace Icon.

The movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2, will be the final in the Twilight series and will open Nov. 16.

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