Deep Dish

My Final Post on ChicagoNow

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Yes, folks, it's true. This is my final post on ChicagoNow - but don't worry, this isn't goodbye - it's just a change of address announcement.

Blogging for ChicagoNow has been a fun and interesting experience. I especially enjoyed my WGN radio interview and getting to know some fabulous fellow bloggers who always entertained me with their own wonderful words.

For those of you who desperately need your Dish of the Day fix, Deep Dish is returning to its Blogger roots (marcharshbarger.blogspot.com) as of today where I hope to continue to share my groovy gay thoughts on pop culture for many moons to come. Please drop by and say hello!

Marc Harshbarger

Battle of the Beefcake, Round 2: Vote for your favorite hunk!


In order to make Deep Dish even more gay in honor of Gay Pride Month, I thought it would be fun to feature a Battle of the Beefcake contest with 32 Playgirl models competing in 4 Divisions (1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s). Round 1 narrowed down the list to 16 guys, so now it's on to Round 2. Check out all their photos in the gallery, then vote below. You have until this Monday (June 21) at midnight to vote in the second round.

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101 Groovy Movies #4: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

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"This is my happening and it freaks me out!" - Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell

The first time I saw the 1970 cult classic, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, I was totally freaked out by it. "What the hell is this?" I wondered more than once while watching the film, which I thought was supposed to be a sequel to the 1967 movie, Valley of the Dolls - and originally it was intended to be just that. A few years later when the special edition DVD of BVD was released, I decided to give the film a second chance, and this time I absolutely loved it. I guess my taste in movies had become much more eclectic and now I could fully appreciate BVD's "everything and the kitchen sink" spirit. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which was released in theaters 40 years ago today, is definitely a bizarre cinematic experience, but I highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for something entirely different to watch. Upon its initial release, posters for the X-rated film read: "This is not a sequel - there has never been anything like it." Truer words have never been written.

Check out some BVD trivia in the photo gallery below as well as the three-part DVD documentary, Above, Beneath & Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical - Horror - Sex - Comedy.

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101 Groovy Movies #3: To Sir, with Love

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"Those schoolgirl days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone . . ."

I was thrilled when TV's Glee sang the title song of the British drama, To Sir, with Love, during its season finale last week. I've always been a big fan of the tune as well as the movie, which was released in theaters 43 years ago today on June 14, 1967. The film centers around an idealistic black teacher, Mark Thackeray (the wonderful Sidney Poitier), who begins teaching at a rough, predominantly white London high school and ultimately earns the love and respect of his students. It's a fairly predictable tale, but the excellent performances and groovy music make this movie one of my favorites.

Check out some To Sir, with Love trivia in the photo gallery below as well as a few film clips.

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Battle of the Beefcake, Round 1: Vote for your favorite hunk!


Back in August 2008 my second blog post was Battle of the Beefcake, in which I featured two gorgeous guys in a hot competition of quality beefcake. However, I soon replaced this contest with Dish of the Day. The last "Battle" was between four Playgirl Cover Boys, which was a very popular post - and ever since then I've wanted to feature more Playgirl models. So in order to make this blog even more gay in honor of Gay Pride Month, I thought it would be fun to revive Battle of the Beefcake with 32 Playgirl models in 4 Divisions (1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s). So check out all their photos in the gallery, then vote below. You have until this Thursday at midnight to vote in the first round.

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The Tonys: Best Kiss and Other Awards

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I miss the good old days when the Tony Awards were held at a Broadway theater like the Shubert or the Lunt-Fontanne and all the winners said their speeches in front of a simple curtain. It wasn't glitzy or glamorous, but I think all the winners got a chance to say their speeches on national television. Last night's 64th annual ceremony was entertaining for the most part, but I did get a bit wistful for the past. Now here are my highlights and lowlights of the CBS telecast (the pink categories are the ones I correctly chose to win):

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101 Groovy Movies #2: Nashville

As I continue sharing my 101 favorite films (in no particular order), Nashville would probably rank #1. Directed by Robert Altman, this drama is simply amazing as he and writer Joan Tewkesbury brilliantly weave together multiple storylines about the country music business in Nashville. Because of its large cast of characters and overlapping dialogue (much of which was improvised by the actors), the movie requires one's rapt attention from beginning to end. I fell in love with this film the first time I saw it - and having watched it many times since then, I still find myself very moved by the emotional ending. Nashville, which premiered in New York City 35 years ago today on June 11, 1975, is a masterpiece of American cinema, and I consider it Altman's best film.

Check out some groovy Nashville trivia in the photo gallery below as well as a few film clips.

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'Mary Tyler Moore' wins the Grooviest TV Theme Song

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

After six rounds of voting, only one TV show was left standing out of the original 64 as Mary Tyler Moore beat Maude 59% to 40% to claim the crown of the Grooviest TV Theme Song. Thanks to everyone who voted!
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Vote for the Grooviest TV Theme Song: Mary vs. Maude

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Well, the end is almost here as two groovy gals of the 1970s - Mary Richards and Maude Findlay - are the last ones left standing. You have until midnight on Wednesday (June 9) to vote in this final round of the Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition.



Vote for the Grooviest TV Theme Song: The Final Four

The Flintstones

Round 4 was a tough battle for The Flintstones, but they emerged victorious by beating Gilligan's Island 50% to 49%. And now we're down to the Final Four - four groovy gals (Mary, Maude, Miss Piggy and Wilma). Check out the photos of all the shows in the gallery, then vote below. You have until midnight on Sunday (June 6) to vote in this round.

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Vote for the Grooviest TV Theme Song: Round 4

Maude

We're now down to the final 8. Check out the photos of all the shows in the gallery, then vote below. You have until midnight on Thursday (June 3) to vote in the fourth round.

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101 Groovy Movies #1: Soapdish

Today I'm beginning a new regular column, in which I will be featuring 101 of my favorite films in no particular order. These are not necessarily the "best" movies ever made - but they are ones that I would enjoy watching with friends.

So to kick things off, let's start with Soapdish, which was released in theaters 19 years ago today on May 31, 1991. Directed by Michael Hoffman and written by Robert Harling (who also wrote Steel Magnolias) and Andrew Bergman, this hilarious comedy tells the behind-the-scenes story of the cast and crew of the daytime soap opera, The Sun Also Sets, and the terrific ensemble cast includes Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey Jr., Cathy Moriarty, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Shue and Teri Hatcher. Last week it was reported that Paramount Pictures plans to remake Soapdish, but I'm not too thrilled by this idea because we all know the new movie will never be as good as the original.

Check out some groovy Soapdish trivia and memorable quotes in the photo gallery below as well as a few film clips.

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Groovy Books: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gay Porn (but were afraid to ask)

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Chicago author Owen Keehnen began interviewing gay porn superstars in 2005 with his book, Starz, which proved to be so popular that he continued the revealing series with More Starz (2007) and Ultimate Starz (2008). And now comes Rising Starz, the fourth volume of intimate conversations with 45 of the biggest names in porn. Here are a few groovy facts that I learned while reading Keehnen's latest behind-the-scenes dish:
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Vote for the Grooviest TV Theme Song: Round 3

Laverne & Shirley

Round 2 of the Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition ended last night. The closest race was between Moonlighting and Friends, but I guess Rachel and Monica still have a few "friends" as they won 50% to 49%.

And now on to Round 3! Check out the photos of all 16 shows in the gallery, then vote below. You have until midnight on Monday (May 31) to vote in the third round.

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Fuerza Bruta: The Best Extraordinary Reality in Chicago

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Last night I got to see Chicago Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss eat a $3 empanada. Fortunately, that was not the highlight of my evening - although she looked like she was enjoying herself. We were both at the official opening of Fuerza Bruta: Look Up, the bizarre, mind-blowing theatrical experience that is now playing at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre.

So what's Fuerza Bruta all about? I have no idea - but it's a visual smorgasbord that will certainly keep your attention for the duration of its 65-minute running time. When I first arrived at the theater, I was surprised to discover that the lobby has been transformed into a groovy nightclub with people in "STAFF" T-shirts serving up beverages and "the Best Empanadas in Chicago". With Michael Jackson singing "Billie Jean", I felt like I was in an '80s dance club with a little bit of Taste of Chicago thrown in for flavor. It's a clever way to get the audience in a festive mood for a show that is weird, wonderful and way out there.
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Sex and the City 2: Sparkle, Carrie, Sparkle!

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Sex and the City 2 does "sparkle" from beginning to end, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Having liked - but not loved - the somewhat heavy-handed first film of the popular HBO series, I was still curious to see the sequel, in which our favorite ladies vacation in Abu Dhabi and Carrie meets up with her old boyfriend, Aidan.  However, SATC2 has a lot more wonderful things going on in it, so here are five reasons for you to go see the movie:

1) Fabulous Flashbacks: The first few minutes of the film has Carrie - in her familiar voiceover - taking us back to when she first arrived in New York City in 1986 and met her three best friends. We get to see how the characters looked over 20 years ago, which is a lot of fun - and I didn't know that Samantha was once a bartender. It's a great way to reintroduce us to these groovy gals.
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Vote for the Grooviest TV Theme Song: Round 2

The Mary Tyler Moore Show


Who would've thought that The Patty Duke Show and Petticoat Junction would end up being the closest race in Round 1 of the Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition? Not me - but the groovy gals of the Shady Rest achieved victory, beating Ms. Duke 51% to 48%. And I wasn't sure if Mission: Impossible or Hawaii Five-O would win as they were in a dead heat last week - but ultimately Hawaii had a few more fans (52% to 47%).

And now on to Round 2! Check out the photos of all 32 shows in the gallery, then vote below. You have until midnight on Thursday (May 27) to vote in the second round.

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Letting Go of 'Lost'

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Well, Lost is finally over. It was an emotional ending that I will never forget - and it made me want to pet my cats (I'll explain later).

So here are my thoughts on the last episode of the TV series in chronological order - beginning with the two-hour special, Lost: The Final Journey:
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Let's Get 'Lost': We're very close to the end...

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That's what Jacob told Hurley in this week's episode of Lost - and it makes me sad and anxious and excited and relieved all at the same time. No other television series has twisted my mind so much - although Twin Peaks still fondly remains a runner-up. I will miss Lost and its talented ensemble of actors, but I'm glad to see the show ending on such a creative high. But back to Tuesday's episode: I liked it a lot - especially the wonderful surprise appearances by two former characters. Here are a few more of my random Lost thoughts:
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The Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition: Round 1 - NORM! Division

Cheers

I thought it would be fun to do a Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition, so - after much deliberation - I finally selected 64 of my favorites. Tough decisions had to be made while narrowing my list, so I know I've left out a few good ones. However, I think I've included many groovy tunes, and I hope you will enjoy casting your votes.

Since there are so many songs, I've been featuring Round 1 in four separate posts this week. Here are the latest results of a few of the show match-ups:

Monday's Vitameatavegamin Division: Petticoat Junction is currently beating The Patty Duke Show 52% to 47%, while Bonanza is trailing Peter Gunn 47% to 52%. A few other shows in need of some votes are The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched and The Andy Griffith Show. Click here to vote in this division.

Tuesday's Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Division: Hawaii Five-O is currently beating Mission: Impossible 51% to 48%, while a few other shows in need of some votes are That Girl, The Odd Couple and Star Trek. Click here to vote in this division.

Yesterday's Meathead Division: Happy Days is currently beating Good Times 55% to 44%, while a few other shows in need of some votes are One Day at a Time, Barney Miller and The Bob Newhart Show. Click here to vote in this division.

Today you can vote for your favorites in the final division, NORM!. Check out photos of the NORM! Division in the gallery, then vote below. You have until Sunday, May 23, to vote in the first round.

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The Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition: Round 1 - Meathead Division

All in the Family
I thought it would be fun to do a Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition, so - after much deliberation - I finally selected 64 of my favorites. Tough decisions had to be made while narrowing my list, so I know I've left out a few good ones. However, I think I've included many groovy tunes, and I hope you will enjoy casting your votes.

Since there are so many songs, I'm featuring Round 1 in four separate posts this week. Monday's Vitameatavegamin Division includes such shows as Bewitched, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show - and they all desperately need your votes to move on to Round 2 (click here to vote in this division). And yesterday's Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Division currently has a very close race between Mission: Impossible and Hawaii Five-O (click here to vote in this division).

Today you can vote for your favorites in the Meathead Division, and tomorrow will be the NORM! Division. Check out photos of the Meathead Division in the gallery, then vote below. You have until Sunday, May 23, to vote in the first round.

Gallery sneak peek (16 images):

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The Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition: Round 1 - Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Division

The Brady Bunch

I thought it would be fun to do a Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition, so - after much deliberation - I finally selected 64 of my favorites. Tough decisions had to be made while narrowing my list, so I know I've left out a few good ones. However, I think I've included many groovy tunes, and I hope you will enjoy casting your votes.

Since there are so many songs, I'm featuring Round 1 in four separate posts this week. If you haven't yet voted in yesterday's Vitameatavegamin Division, featuring such shows as I Love Lucy, The Flintstones, Bewitched, The Addams Family and Gilligan's Island, click here.

Today you can vote for your favorites in the Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Division. Tomorrow will be the Meathead Division followed by the NORM! Division on Thursday. Check out photos of the Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Division in the gallery, then vote below. You have until Sunday, May 23, to vote in the first round.

Gallery sneak peek (16 images):

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The Grooviest TV Theme Song Competition: Round 1 - Vitameatavegamin Division

I Love Lucy

I thought it would be fun to do a TV Theme Song competition, so - after much deliberation - I finally selected 64 of my favorites. Tough decisions had to be made while narrowing my list, so I know I've left out a few good ones. However, I think I've included many groovy tunes, and I hope you will enjoy casting your votes.

Since there are so many songs, I'm featuring Round 1 in four separate posts this week. Today you can vote for your favorites in the Vitameatavegamin Division. Tomorrow will be the Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Division followed by the Meathead Division on Wednesday and the NORM! Division on Thursday.  Check out photos of the Vitameatavegamin Division in the gallery, then vote below.  You have until Sunday, May 23, to vote in the first round.

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Let's Get 'Lost': Mother Knows Best

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After last week's emotionally draining and highly dramatic episode, in which four characters were killed off, this week's Lost was an interesting piece of filler that helped clear up a few mysteries. But it wouldn't rank high on my list of favorite episodes. Taking place almost entirely in the past in order to tell the origins of Jacob and his fraternal twin brother, The Man in Black, the show was very different than the usual Lost - with no appearances by any of the regulars (except for a flashback sequence). I wanted to know what Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer were going to do next, but instead we got this episode. Here are a few more of my random thoughts on this week's Lost:
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DVD Dish: Rhoda, Garbo & Joan Crawford Talk

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In this new monthly feature, I will be dishing about 10 recently released and future DVDs that I find interesting - including burn-on-demand DVD-Rs that are becoming more common for better or worse (at least we can finally watch them). So if you're looking for something gay or diva-licious or just a favorite classic TV series, check out my recommendations in the gallery below. Hopefully I've selected at least one that's to your liking. And you can watch trailers or video clips of some of my DVD choices after the gallery.

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Come Out for Chicago Opera Theater's LGBT Night This Friday

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San Francisco Opera photo by Kristen Loken

If you live in Chicago, love opera and are gay, you should check out Chicago Opera Theater's "Out at the Opera" LGBT night this Friday (May 14). A $100 ticket includes a fabulous A+ section seat to gay composer Jake Heggie's new opera, Three Decembers, which has been called "an engaging crowd-pleaser" by Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein (click here to read his rave review). The legendary Frederica von Stade - in her final Chicago appearance before retirement - stars as a famous Broadway actress dealing with her dysfunctional relationships with her daughter and gay son.
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Live from New York, it's 'Saturday Night' with Betty White

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Well, such high expectations usually do lead to disappointment - and last night's special Mother's Day edition of Saturday Night Live with the fabulous Betty White was, unfortunately, no exception to the rule. There were a few funny sketches, but overall the material just didn't live up to Betty's comedic talents. However, the funny lady can make almost anything amusing without even saying a word - and it was still a hoot to see her hosting. I also loved that Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer all returned to SNL to join Betty. But the show should've been so much better. I mean, come on, folks, no Golden Girls spoof? Or a visit from Sue Ann Nivens still lying in her vibrating bed? The following are my random thoughts while tuning in to the show:
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Spend Mother's Day with 'Mommie Dearest'

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If you're still wondering what to give Mom this Sunday - and you live in or around Chicago - I recommend that you take her to see the 3rd Annual Mother's Day with Mommie Dearest at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave). If you're not familiar with the infamous 1981 film starring the scenery-chewing Faye Dunaway as Joan "No wire hangers!" Crawford, then you're definitely in the wrong place since it's a strict prerequisite to have seen the movie in order to read this blog. Just kidding - kind of.
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Let's Get 'Lost': Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

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Yes, I shed a few tears during last night's emotionally draining episode of Lost. It was a shocking hour of television to say the least, and if the series wasn't ending in a few weeks, I would be pissed off right now. But instead I just feel overwhelming sadness at having to say goodbye to some of my favorite TV characters. However, we're talking about Lost here - a show in which dead people pop up on a regular basis in flashbacks and alternative worlds. So I do expect to see the folks who perished last night to somehow return in the final episodes. Now here are a few more of my random thoughts about the episode:
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And the Tony Award goes to . . .

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Well, there certainly wasn't much love for The Addams Family as the Tony Award nominations were announced today.  I'm not that surprised considering the critical response to the show - but no nomination for Nathan Lane? That does surprise me. I thought he was terrific as Gomez when the musical debuted here in Chicago last fall. The only other two nominated productions I've seen are Million Dollar Quartet (which has been playing in Chicago since 2008) and Everyday Rapture (which I saw Off-Broadway last year). I thought Million Dollar Quartet was very entertaining - and I LOVED the amazing Sherie Rene Scott in Everyday Rapture, which was my favorite show of our trip - even with stiff competition from Hair and Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit. They still haven't announced who's going to be hosting the Tonys this year (I say bring back the fabulous Neil Patrick Harris), but I plan on tuning in on Sunday, June 13 - and, of course, I'll be sure to check back in after the telecast with a review of all the fun and excitement.

Now here are this year's Tony nominations with my "pretty in pink" predictions (since I wasn't able to make it to New York this season, I'm basing most of my choices on reviews I've read and gut instinct):

BEST PLAY
In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Next Fall
Red
Time Stands Still



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