Deep Dish

3/10 Archives

Let's Get 'Lost': Some people are meant to be together

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Jin-and-Sun-Fight.jpg
I'm a big Jin and Sun fan - maybe because I'm a hopeful romantic who believes that there is somebody special out there for each and every one of us. I can't help it - I'm just a sucker for love. And for all the bizarre sci-fi shenanigans going on on Lost, it's still the various love connections between the characters that capture my interest - and my heart - the most. Jin and Sun's complicated relationship has been one of the show's best love stories, and actors Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim make a very attractive and appealing couple with fabulous onscreen chemistry. So last night's Jin/Sun-centric episode was a total delight from start to finish - even though the Kwons have still not found their way back into each other's arms.

So let's begin with Jin and Sun and take a closer look at what happened to them this week:

On the island, MIB Locke told Jin that all the people whose names were on the cave wall had to go together in order for them to leave the island. But Jin wasn't really interested because he just wanted to find his wife. Unfortunately, everyone in their group was then shot with a drugged dart by Charles Widmore's cronies, and Zoe (Sheila Kelly from TV's Sisters) and Jane Curtin's son Chip from Kate & Allie (Frederick Koehler) took Jin back to their island to help them with Dharma Initiative stuff. Widmore then gave Jin Sun's digital camera with photos of their young daughter, which made Jin a little verklempt (it was a very emotional moment). He also informed Jin that everyone would cease to exist if MIB Locke ever left the island and that he was there to make sure that didn't happen.
Continue reading...

The 50 Hottest Hunks of Daytime Soaps, Part 3

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

hankcheyne32.jpg

Today I'm continuing my countdown of the hottest daytime soap hunks. To see what guys I chose for #31-50, click here.

Now here are the next ten (the list with videos appears after the photo gallery):

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

The 50 Hottest Hunks of Daytime Soaps, Part 2

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.


Today I'm continuing my countdown of the hottest daytime soap hunks. To see what guys I chose for #41-50, click here for Part 1.

Now here are the next ten (the list with videos appears after the photo gallery):

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Let's Get 'Lost': This Is Your Life, Richard Alpert

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Richard_Alpert2.jpg

I never get tired of watching actor Nestor Carbonell as the mysterious Richard Alpert, but last night's episode of Lost will not rank as one of my favorites. I was really looking forward to a Richard-centric show - and although I was never bored, I missed the switching back and forth between Parallel Time and the island that has been going on all season. And I wanted to see some other characters besides the handsome Mr. Alpert - whom I must confess wasn't looking all that attractive last night. The long hair and beard just didn't do much for me, but that's just my personal preference. Anyway, the episode was interesting, but I wanted a break from Richard and all his anguished drama after awhile. So my review this week will be very different from my previous ones as I'm just going to tell everything in chronological order. And away we go:

The show opened with Ilana beat up and bandaged in the hospital, where she was visited by Jacob (Mark Pellegrino, who is also nice eye candy). He informed her that he needed her to protect the remaining six candidates. Meanwhile, on the island in 2007, Ilana and her gang of survivors (including Jack, Sun, Hurley and Ben) discussed the whole candidate thing, and she revealed that Jacob told her that Richard would know what to do next. However, Mr. Alpert gave out a funny giggle before informing them that they were all dead and in Hell. He then decided to go off into the jungle to join up with MIB (Man in Black) Locke.
Continue reading...

Betty Buckley & Tuc Watkins to Star Off-Broadway in 'White's Lies'

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

bettybuckley2.jpg
tuc-watkins-pic.jpg

I received a press release yesterday that couldn't be more perfect for this blog: a new Off-Broadway comedy starring the fabulous Tony Award-winning Betty Buckley and the incredibly talented Desperate Housewives and One Life to Live star Tuc Watkins. What more could a gay man want in a play?   I guess I wouldn't mind if Betty crooned a tune at some point, but other than that, White's Lies by Ben Andron sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

Watkins will be replacing the previously announced Scott Patterson, who has been cast in a television pilot. Although I loved Patterson as Luke on Gilmore Girls, Watkins just has that extra something special that makes my raspberry swirl. The guy is gorgeous and funny - and he
will definitely be making a future appearance on my list of the Hottest Hunks of Daytime Soaps If you've never seen his performance as the scheming con artist and ladies' man David Vickers on One Life to Live, you are missing out on one of the most hilarious characters to ever grace a daytime soap.
Continue reading...

Free Groovy Movie Screening: Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest'

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

GRANT2.jpg

I'm a big fan of director Alfred Hitchcock, so I'm looking forward to this free screening of his 1959 film, North by Northwest.  Here is the scoop:

WHAT: Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne will be joined by Academy Award winner Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront) in Chicago for a free presentation of North by Northwest, starring the lovely actress and Cary Grant (check out the film's trailer below).

WHERE: Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Avenue, Chicago

WHEN: Tuesday, March 30, at 7:30 pm (with a Q&A to precede the screening)

WHY: TCM is taking its love of great movies to five cities nationwide with a Road to Hollywood tour, a slate of special free screenings to help launch the first-ever TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood April 22-25. This four-day festival will provide movie fans a rare opportunity to experience some of cinema's greatest works as they were meant to be seen - on the big screen (go to www.tcm.com/festival for more information and watch the promo video below).
Continue reading...

Groovy Web Series: A 'Pretty' Season Finale

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

pretty.jpg

I was planning to feature five web series last week, but then I decided to wait and blog about Pretty after its season finale debuted yesterday. For those of you who might not be familiar with this new mockumentary show by writer and director Steve Silverman, I sang its praises here on the Dish last month, calling it "one helluva hoot" with "a wicked and sharp sense of humor" and "a first-rate cast of comedic actors". And having watched the final three episode since then, I can safely say that Pretty is still one of the best and funniest web series currently airing. So if you're a fan of Christopher Guest films (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show), I highly recommend that you check out Pretty and all its hilarious characters:
Continue reading...

The 50 Hottest Hunks of Daytime Soaps, Part 1

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Chris Bruno5.jpg


Yes, I know I recently posted my 50 Grooviest Guys of Daytime Soaps, but there's a significant difference between a groovy guy and a hot hunk. The former is a good actor who has created a memorable character, while the latter is a piece of prime beefcake who should always remain shirtless.  Now this is not to say that the hunks on my list aren't also talented actors, but my main criteria for choosing them was not their thespian skills. I initially had around 130 possible candidates, which means 80 studs got kicked to the curb as I narrowed down my list. This process wasn't easy, folks, but it was a lot of fun. And hopefully I've chosen a few of your favorite fellas.

So here are the first ten (the list with videos appears after the photo gallery):

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Groovy Web Series: Jackie Hoffman's 'Addams Family' Home Movies

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

jackiehoffman.jpg

I love Jackie Hoffman - in a platonic, "I think you're fabulous" kind of way, of course. The comedic actress just makes me laugh - and she was also nice enough to do a Deeper Dish interview back in November when her new show, The Addams Family, was having its pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago. So yesterday when I discovered that Broadway.com was having the groovy gal do a hilarious backstage video blog about the musical, I knew I had to share it here on the Dish. Here are some of the highlights of the first two episodes:
Continue reading...

Groovy Web Series: Steamboat

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

steamboat.jpg

If you're a soap opera fan, I think you'll enjoy the new web series, Steamboat - especially if the dearly departed Guiding Light was your favorite show. Actor Michael O'Leary (who played GL's Rick Bauer) created the series, he and Scott Bryce (As the World Turns' original Craig Montgomery) are its executive producers, and the cast features many popular soap stars.

Unlike Gotham and Venice (two other recent web series created by and starring soap actors), Steamboat is a continuing comedy ala The Office as it takes a behind-the-scenes look at the desperate, dying days of a daytime drama. I'm not sure if the soap within the web series takes place on a steamboat or not, but it is described as the "Most Loved Soap" - despite its dismal last place in the ratings. The first few episodes introduce the cast of characters, who include:
Continue reading...

Let's Get 'Lost': Little Island on the Prairie

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Lost_Season6_Promo018.jpg
Although I'm hoping that Kate will eventually wind up with Jack, I do like Sawyer - and Josh Holloway continues to impress me as an actor. The guy just exudes charisma beyond the TV and into my living room, where I am unable to take my eyes off him. He's damn good as one of Lost's most intriguing characters - and I'm looking forward to seeing how his story ends. Last night's episode was all about the sexy Sawyer (aka James Ford), and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Now let's take a closer look at what happened with our favorite characters this week
:

Sawyer Ford: Let's begin with James, who in Parallel Time has chosen to be a detective instead of a professional con man.  However, he's still screwed up because of Anthony Cooper, the man who caused his father to kill his mother and then himself when Sawyer was only nine.  And his LAPD partner is Miles Straume, who wasn't too happy to learn that Sawyer lied to him about his recent trip to Australia to track down a lead on Cooper.  Unable to trust his partner anymore, Miles "broke up" with Sawyer, who then smashed a mirror with his fist (such a manly man he is).  Meanwhile, Miles set up Sawyer on a blind date with Charlotte Lewis - remember her?  She was the redheaded anthropologist whom Daniel Faraday loved, but she died from all the headaches and nosebleeds caused by the excessive time-jumping of last season.  I liked the poor girl, so it was very nice to see her again - and actress Rebecca Mader looked absolutely fabulous on her date with Sawyer.  The two of them made an attractive couple.  Unfortunately, after making love, Charlotte found Sawyer's private folder on Cooper and his dead parents, and he had a big hissy fit and threw her out.  He later tried to apologize with a sad sunflower and a 6-pack of beer, but she wasn't in a forgiving mood.

There were some interesting moments during Sawyer's Parallel Time: 

1) He owns a copy of the novel, Watership Down, which - according to Wikipedia (since I've never read the book) - is a fantasy about a group of rabbits who escape the destruction of their home and go on a journey to find a new place to live.

2) I noticed the cameo appearance of a handsome guy looking for his brother at the police station - and I think this was Charlie's brother.

3) And before he went to apologize to Charlotte, Sawyer received inspiration from a conversation between Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert on an old rerun of Little House on the Prairie.  Definitely a bizarre moment - but you gotta like the pop culture reference.
Continue reading...

Soap Dish: The Luck of the Ryans on St. Patrick's Day

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

ryanshope.jpg
St. Patrick's Day always brings back fond memories of TV's most famous Irish American family - the Ryans of New York City, who enjoyed celebrating this day at the bar they owned. For those of you who might not remember them, they appeared on the ABC daytime soap opera, Ryan's Hope, from 1975 until 1989.  I posted the following episode of the series last March, but I think it deserves to be featured every year because it just wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without Helen Gallagher as matriarch Maeve Ryan singing "Danny Boy" (as she does in the final minutes of the show).

This episode, which originally aired on March 17, 1987, stars Grant Show (Melrose Place) as Rick Hyde, Yasmine Bleeth as his wife, Ryan, and Ilene Kristen as the delightful Delia Reid Ryan Ryan Coleridge Crane Coleridge (click here to read my recent interview with the actress).

Live from Chicago, it's Liza Minnelli

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

lizam.jpg
I know where I'll be on Sunday, June 6, at 7:30 pm (CST) - watching the fabulous Liza Minnelli here in the Windy City. That's right, folks, the legendary star is coming to Chicago to perform in Liza Minnelli and Friends at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.). Presented by Star Productions and accompanied by the Grammy-winning composer Billy Stritch, she will sing classic American standards in a glamorous and intimate concert with her quartet. So if you want to see an amazing lady who's won them all - Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy - I suggest that you stop sitting alone in your room and come hear the one and only Liza on June 6!

Tickets go on sale for this one-night-only performance this Saturday, March 20, at 12 noon, and they can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets range from $55 to $125. For more information, visit thechicagotheatre.com.


Groovy Web Series: Very Mary-Kate

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

verymarykate.jpg

I've never been a big Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen fan. Their hit TV show, Full House (1987-95), wasn't my cup of tea - although I still find John Stamos very attractive - but I did like Mary-Kate as a pot-smoking born-again Christian on Weeds a few seasons ago. So when I heard that someone was spoofing the celebrity twins in a new web series, I wasn't initially all that excited by the idea. However, today I took a look at Very Mary-Kate when I saw that Philip Seymour Hoffman was in the latest episode. Actually it isn't really the Oscar-winning actor, but the guy impersonating him is hilarious - and actress Elaine Carroll - who created the series and stars as Mary-Kate (as well as her sister) - is thoroughly delightful.  Having watched all nine episodes, I now consider myself a big fan of the wonderfully wicked Very Mary-Kate, the talented Ms. Carroll - and MK's hunky, hot bodyguard.
Continue reading...

The 50 Grooviest Guys of Daytime Soaps: The Top 10

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

young64.jpg

Today I'm featuring the Top 10 in my countdown of favorite daytime soap actors. To see what groovy guys I chose for #11-50, click here.

Now here are the ten Grooviest Guys of Daytime Soaps:

10) Joseph Mascolo
Best Role: Stefano DiMera, Days of our Lives (1982-85, 1988, 1993-2001, 2007-present)
Other Roles: Jack Lander, From These Roots (1961)
Ed Lucas, Where the Heart Is (1970-73)
Carlos Alvarez, Santa Barbara (1985)
Domino (Nicholas Van Buren), General Hospital (1989)
Massimo Marone, The Bold and the Beautiful (2001-06)



9) James Mitchell
Best Role: Palmer Cortlandt, All My Children (1979-2010)
Other Roles: Capt. Lloyd Griffin, The Edge of Night (1964)
Julian Hathaway, Where the Heart Is (1969-73)



8) Larry Bryggman
Dr. John Dixon, As the World Turns (1969-2004)


Continue reading...

Groovy Web Series: Chico's Angels

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Thumbnail image for chicos10.jpg
I decided to get caught up on my web series watching, so this week I'll be featuring a few groovy shows worth tuning in. First up is Chico's Angels, a hilarious Latino drag queen version of a certain 1970s TV series about three crime-fighting, mystery-solving, cha-cha heels-wearing ladies - Kay Sedia, Chita Parol and Frieda Laye - who have been entertaining audiences onstage since 2003.  Now they have their very own web series, and in the first episode, "Gang of Chicas", the groovy gals are hired to find a stolen ceramic Chihuahua, which leads them into danger. It's silly, mindless fun - just like the original show - and actress Eden Espinosa (from the stage musical, Wicked) is a special guest star.

The Angels also have a brand new stage show, Pretty Chicas All in a Row, which has them going undercover to find a killer at the Miss Kumquat Pageant. The show (directed by Kurt Koehler) is now playing through April 18 at the Cavern Club Theater inside Casita Del Campo Restaurant (1920 Hyperion Ave.) in Los Angeles. To purchase tickets and for further information, go to www.chicosangels.com. You can also become a Facebook fan of Chico's Angels by clicking here.

Below are the first two parts of "Gang of Chicas" - and you can watch the entire episode at www.chicosangels.com or on YouTube. Also, check out the photo gallery of the Angels with some hot hunks.

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

View the gallery...

The 50 Grooviest Guys of Daytime Soaps, Part 4

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

christian-leblanc.jpg


Today I'm continuing my countdown of favorite daytime soap actors. To see what groovy guys I chose for #21-50, click here.

Now here are the next ten (and, FYI, that's Christian LeBlanc in the photo):

20) Christian LeBlanc
Best Role: Michael Baldwin, The Young and the Restless (1991-93, 1997-present)
Other Role: Kirk McColl, As the World Turns (1983-85)



19) Don Hastings
Best Role: Dr. Bob Hughes, As the World Turns (1960-present)
Other Role: Jack Lane, The Edge of Night (1956-60)



18) Vincent Irizarry
Best Role: David Hayward, All My Children (1997-2006, 2008-present)
Other Roles: Lujack Luvonaczek, Guiding Light (1983-86)
Dr. Scott Clark, Santa Barbara (1987-89)
Nick McHenry Spaulding, Guiding Light (1991-96)
David Chow, The Young and the Restless (2007-08)

Continue reading...

Valley of the 'Mad Men' Dolls

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

madmenbarbie.jpg
Here are some fabulous dolls for that special gay guy in your life - I mean, come on, what boy wouldn't want his very own Joan Holloway doll?

Mattel and Lionsgate have announced that they will be releasing doll versions of Mad Men's top four characters - Joan, Roger Sterling, and those lovebirds, Don and Betty Draper - in July to help promote the TV show's eagerly anticipated fourth season. Each doll will sell for $74.95, and they will be sold at BarbieCollector.com, amctv.com and other select retailers.
Continue reading...

Soap Dish: Kish Them Goodbye

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.



I'm pissed off at One Life to Live, the struggling daytime soap opera that announced this week their idiotic decision to dump Kish.  For those of you who don't watch the show, "Kish" is the nickname of the gay characters, Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish, who have been a couple since November.  They had their first onscreen kiss last August, and on New Year's Eve, ABC made history by airing the first-ever gay sex scene on American daytime network television as Kish finally made love.  And now - according to TV Guide - ABC is dumping the couple, whom they are blaming for the soap's dismal ratings (it currently ranks 6th out of the seven soaps still left on the air).  Do I think their ratings will magically bounce back once Kyle and Fish are written off in mid-April?  Hell no.  I expect the show will continue to lose viewers - especially now that the LGBT community will probably stop watching and rightly so - and I wouldn't be too surprised if One Life soon runs out of lives to Live, which would be very sad.
Continue reading...

Live from New York, it's Betty White!

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.



I know where I'll be on Saturday, May 8, at 10:30 pm (CST) - glued to my television set to watch the fabulous Betty White (aka Sue Ann Nivens/Rose Nylund) become the oldest person (at age 88) to host Saturday Night Live. The Mother's Day episode will also feature a reunion of six former female cast members, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch. According to a USA Today article, Betty turned down hosting the show three times years ago:

"It's so New York, and I'm not New York at all. But my agent said he'd divorce me if I didn't do it, and I love my agent."

And apparently a lot of folks love her as the Facebook page that began this determined campaign to have the actress host the show - Betty White to Host SNL (please?)! - has 492,677 fans at last count - and I'm one of them. I would love for SNL to spoof The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls on May 8 - and it will be great to see all those talented younger women hanging out with Betty. Let's just hope and pray that the show is funny that night.


Win Free Tickets to Chicago Opera Theater!

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

nathang.jpg
If you live in Chicago and love opera, you might want to check out Chicago Opera Theater's (COT) second annual YouTube contest, in which they are encouraging people to create videos that answer the question:

"How do YOU make opera less ordinary?"

All you have to do is shoot a short (3 minutes or less) video of your own interpretation of one of the operas of COT's 2010 Spring Festival Season - Moses in Egypt, Jason, and Three Decembers.

Entries are currently being accepted through April 1, and the three videos with the most "Favorite" votes on YouTube when voting ends on April 9 will be declared the winners. They will receive two free subscriptions to COT's 2010 Spring Festival Season, while all runner-up video entries will receive two passes to the final dress rehearsal of their choice.

Click here for further details on COT's contest page - and you can watch their kick-off video below that also explains everything.

P.S. The handsome hunk in the photo is opera singer Nathan Gunn, who will not be appearing at COT - but I just couldn't resist an opportunity to post a pic of the guy, whom you can drool over in the video below of his performance in the 2005 production of An American Tragedy.

Let's Get 'Lost': You Gotta Have Friends

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Lost can rarely be described as "sweet", but last night's show was almost too schmaltzy for me - and in a Ben-centric episode no less.  It was his Parallel Time story that initially interested me as he conspired to take down the nasty principal at the high school where he taught history, but at the last minute the goodness in his heart made him do the right thing.  Personally, I found it a bit of a letdown and kind of boring for Lost.  Ben being a nice guy just doesn't do all that much for me.

So let's take a closer look at what happened with our favorite characters this week
:

Ben Linus: Let's begin with Dr. Linus, who is definitely one of the most complex and fascinating characters on the show - and actor Michael Emerson (who has played the role since February 2006) deserved to win an Emmy last year for his brilliant performance.  However, his Parallel Time story last night, in which he decided to put the promising future of his star pupil, Alex Rousseau, ahead of his own happiness, wasn't all that exciting to watch.  You remember Alex - she was Ben's adoptive daughter who was shot and killed when he refused to listen to her killer's demands.  It was a pleasant surprise to see the lovely actress, Tania Raymonde, again, but the unexpected plot twist at the end, in which Ben backed down from blackmailing Principal Reynolds (played by William Atherton, who was in the 1977 Diane Keaton film, Looking for Mr. Goodbar) after the guy threatened to write a negative letter of recommendation for Alex's college application, almost rotted my teeth with its sugary sweetness.  Oh look, Ben is putting the girl first this time instead of throwing her to the dogs - what a nice guy.  Pardon me while I yawn.

Fortunately, Ben's island adventure in the present was far more fun to watch as the tough Ilana made Miles reveal that Ben killed Jacob, which did not make her a happy camper since the dead man was like a father to her.  So she soon had Mr. Linus digging his own grave right next to where the reviled Nikki and Paulo were buried with their diamonds (which Miles got his hands on) - I wasn't expecting to ever hear their names mentioned again on the show.  MLB Locke told Ben to meet up with him, but after Linus confided that he was unable to forgive himself for choosing the island over his own daughter's life, his sob story touched Ilana, who allowed him to live and rejoin her group.  So I guess Ben is now one of the good guys - at least temporarily.

Best line of the episode has to go to Frank Lapidus, who quipped to Ben after Ilana gave him the cold shoulder for killing Jacob: "You make friends easy, don't you?"
Continue reading...

Parenthood: The Return of Lorelai Gilmore

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

parenthood8.jpg
It's so nice to see actress Lauren Graham back on television. Having loved her as Lorelai on Gilmore Girls (which I only discovered two years ago on DVD), I was quite curious to see how she would fit in to an ensemble cast like NBC's new Parenthood has - and after watching the series' premiere last week, I felt I should reserve judgment until I'd viewed a second episode. I'm very glad that I did because I liked last night's show much more than the pilot, which seemed to lack a cohesiveness among its large cast of characters. But there were enough things that I liked about it to make me want to see more - and now I consider myself a fan of the show.

Before I begin my review, here's some background info on Parenthood, which began as a 1989 movie directed and co-written by Ron Howard (who is an executive producer of the new series).  It was centered around the Buckman family with a cast that included Steve Martin, Dianne Wiest (who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award), Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves and Leaf Phoenix (who later went back to his birth-given name "Joaquin").  When the film was a critical and box office hit, Howard quickly revamped it into a half-hour TV series, which debuted on NBC on August 20, 1990, and starred a 15-year-old actor named Leonardo DiCaprio.  Unfortunately, Parenthood's big screen success was not to be repeated as the show was canceled after only 12 episodes due to low ratings.  Fast forward 19 years to 2009 when NBC announced that it was going to give Parenthood a second chance at life as a television series.  Sadly, actress Maura Tierney (Newsradio, ER) had to leave the show after filming the pilot to undergo treatment for breast cancer (and last I heard she was doing very well), so she was replaced by Ms. Graham in the role of Sarah Braverman - and the show was pushed back from the fall to midseason, finally debuting last Tuesday.

So here's what I like so far about the updated Parenthood, which now centers around three generations of the Braverman family, who live in Berkeley, California:

Lauren Graham (of course):
She's terrific as Sarah, who possesses the same quirky sense of humor as Lorelai - but doesn't speak nearly as fast.  Also, her life is a mess, having had to move back home to live with her parents - and her teenage children are a handful, especially her daughter Amber (played by 21-year-old Mae Whitman, whom I fondly remember as George Michael's girlfriend, Ann, on Arrested Development).  However, Graham's presence was quite overpowering in the pilot - and I kept wanting her to be Peter Krause's wife instead of his sister.  Fortunately, she seemed to fit in better with the rest of the cast in the second episode.  I'm sure the talented Tierney would have been great as Sarah (and you can watch her in the original trailer below), but I think Graham provides a little extra kick and a lighter touch to the role.
Continue reading...

Chicago Is Alive with The Sound of Julie!

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

No, Julie Andrews isn't singing in the Windy City - but the thoroughly modern Laura Freeman is in her new cabaret show, The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Julie, in which she will be doling out a spoonful of sugar next month along with many favorite Julie tunes.

Laura and her musical director Beckie Menzie previously created Sentimental Journey: The Music of Doris Day, so Ms. Andrews seemed like the next logical performer to honor with a tribute show.  Laura plans to share stories about the actress' amazing career in vaudeville, Broadway and film in between singing some of her most beloved songs, including "I Could Have Danced All Night" (My Fair Lady), "A Spoonful of Sugar" (Mary Poppins), "Le Jazz Hot" (Victor/Victoria) and, of course, "The Sound of Music" (I'm personally hoping for a more obscure number like "Whistling Away The Dark" from 1970's Darling Lili or the catchy title tune from 1968's Star!).  So if you're a fan of Julie Andrews, you should definitely check out Laura Freeman's musical celebration of the "loverly" lady.

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Julie: The Music of Julie Andrews will be performed at 8 pm on four Friday evenings next month (April 9, 16, 23, 30) at Davenport's Piano Bar (1383 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago).  The cover charge is $15 with a 2 drink minimum, and you can make reservations at davenportspianobar.com or by phone at (773) 278-1830.

To learn more about Laura, go to her website at www.laurafreemansings.com, and below you can watch her sing "Sentimental Journey", "The Trolley Song" (with Rob Dorn), and "Miss Marmelstein".

 

The 50 Grooviest Guys of Daytime Soaps, Part 3

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Today I'm continuing my countdown of favorite daytime soap actors. To see what groovy guys I chose for #31-50, click here.

Now here are the next ten (and, FYI, that's Matthew Ashford in the photo with his Days of our Lives co-star, Melissa Reeves):

30) Stuart Damon
Best Role: Dr. Alan Quartermaine, General Hospital (1977-2007, 2008)
Other Roles: Ralph Manzo, As the World Turns (2009)
Governor Ford, Days of our Lives (2010)



29) John Aniston
Best Role: Victor Kiriakis, Days of our Lives (1985-97, 1999-present)
Other Roles: Eddie Aleata, Love of Life (1975-78)
Martin Tourneur, Search for Tomorrow (1978-84)



28) Christopher Bernau
Best Role: Alan Spaulding, Guiding Light (1977-84, 1986-88)
Other Role: Philip Todd, Dark Shadows (1969-70)

Continue reading...

The Oscars: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

JeffBridgesx-large.jpg

What a difference a year makes.  After watching last year's Oscars, I sang the telecast's praises in my review:

"Tonight's Academy Awards were the most entertaining and well-produced ceremony that I've seen in many moons. Hugh Jackman was the perfect host . . . Bring him back next year. However, the best part of the entire affair was the brilliant transformation of the Oscars by new producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark . . . If the Oscars are smart, they'll sign up Condon and Mark to produce the show for the next 50 years."

Unfortunately, they didn't listen to me - and this year's 82nd annual ceremony was a major drag until the last hour of its 3-1/2 hour running time when the major awards were handed out.  The following are my highlights and lowlights of the evening:

I'm Already Confused:
Why did new producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic feel it necessary to introduce the nominated Best Actors and Actresses in the opening moments of the show?  And then have all these young kids rush up on stage to lead them down to their seats?  This "honoring the stars" was an awkward way to start the show.

Sorry, Neil, I Love You But . . . your big opening number sucked.  It was a lame song that just wasn't very funny.  Poor Neil Patrick Harris - looking great as always - tried to sell it as best he could, but I was extremely underwhelmed.

Two Hosts, Ten Movies: Both were bad ideas.  I love Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, but their opening monologue was weak as they singled out almost every nominated star under the sun.  And the rest of their jokes for the evening - except for one very funny bit of comedy - left me cold.  As for the ten Best Picture nominations, I don't want to have to sit through ten different people introducing all the movies to me next year.  Please go back to five nominees - it makes the nomination much more special instead of so watered down.

Gotta Love Ed: It was nice to see 80-year-old Ed Asner (Up) getting so much face time.  He's a groovy guy.

Funniest Couple:
Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr.

Who Is That?: I didn't even recognize Molly Ringwald with her hair so long.

John Hughes: He was a good director of some funny films - but lots of worthy directors die and never receive such an extended tribute.  I don't believe Robert Altman was honored in this way when he passed away a few years ago.

Where's Emilio Estevez?: Why didn't he join the rest of The Breakfast Club in honoring Hughes?  Instead we get 29-year-old Macaulay Culkin, who still looks like he's nine.
Continue reading...

My Evening with Stephen Sondheim

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Dianne Brogan Photography

Okay, so there were over a thousand other people in the theater - but it still felt as if the brilliant composer and lyricist was speaking only to me during his appearance last night here in Chicago. Mr. Sondheim was interviewed as part of the Harris Theater's inaugural Broadway Luminaries series, and the first order of business for the standing-room-only audience was to give the man a standing ovation when he walked out on stage.  After moderator Gary Griffin informed him that Chicagoans are "Sondheim people", he then confided in us that if there was any city that he would consider living in besides New York, it would be Chicago.  Of course this only made everyone adore him all that much more - and for the next 90 minutes, the musical genius shared many wonderful stories in his conversation with Griffin.  It was a truly memorable evening that I will never forget.

Now here are 10 Groovy Facts about Stephen Sondheim that I learned last night:

1) He's figured out that he has lived his entire life within 20 square blocks in New York City.  Now that is amusing as well as amazing.

2) At age fifteen, Sondheim wrote his first musical and gave it to Oscar Hammerstein II - the great lyricist of Oklahoma!, Carousel and many other legendary musicals as well as a family friend - to read, telling him to "pretend you don't know me."  The young boy was convinced that he would become the first 15-year-old with a show on Broadway.  Unfortunately, this dream was soon dashed when Hammerstein told him that it was the worst thing he'd ever read.  But Sondheim appreciated his honesty and for treating him like an adult - and Hammerstein became a mentor to the boy, whom he saw as a "sponge" that would absorb knowledge.



3) As a teenager, he wrote a stage musical of the book, Mary Poppins, but he had trouble with the episodic nature of the original story - and according to Sondheim, so did Disney with its recent adaptation.

4) When he was seventeen, he spent a summer as a gopher on Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway-bound musical, Allegro (1947).  This experimental show taught him "what not to do", and it was a very educational experience.  Producer Cameron Mackintosh once told Sondheim that he [Sondheim] had spent his entire life trying to fix the second act of Allegro through his own work.


Continue reading...

The Final 'Nip': My Top 10 Favorite 'Tucks'

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

So the sordid, twisted saga of McNamara/Troy came to an end last night - about two seasons too late in my opinion.  I've always tried to hang in there with favorite TV shows to the bitter end, but sometimes it's just painful to watch a series crash and burn.  Unfortunately, FX's Nip/Tuck, which began back in 2003, made a few wrong turns during its fifth and sixth seasons that caused me to jump ship:

1) Having Liz Cruz, the lesbian anesthesiologist (played by the wonderful Roma Maffia), sleep with and marry the womanizing Christian Troy, who then dumped her after learning that he wasn't going to die from cancer.

2) Introducing a psycho new love interest for Sean McNamara named Teddy Rowe, who was played by two different actresses, Katee Sackhoff and Rose McGowan.  Neither of these ladies could make me warm up to this unappealing character.

3) Turning Sean and Christian's son, Matt McNamara, into a criminal called "The Mime Bandit" (WTF??).  He eventually ended up in prison with a psychotic inmate, who made him his bitch and wanted him to get breast implants.

4) Changing the self-absorbed but amusing Kimber (played by the lovely Kelly Carlson) into a pathetic mess who was forced by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Christian, to have an abortion in order for the asshole to marry her.

And that's when I decided to switch channels.  The writers of the show took a thoroughly entertaining piece of trash television and turned all their deeply flawed - but still likable - characters into unpleasant idiots whom I just didn't care about anymore.  I'm glad I didn't have to see poor Kimber commit suicide during the show's final seventh season - what a horrible way to kill off such a fun character.  However, I did tune in to the last two episodes because I was curious to see how they would wrap up the series - and I wanted to see one of my favorite characters again - Ava Moore (played by Famke Janssen), the transsexual life coach who had an affair with young Matt and an incestuous relationship with her adopted son during the second season.  So if you don't want to know how the series ended, skip over the next two paragraphs:

Ava was back to her evil ways as she seduced the lovestruck Matt into abandoning his bride, Ramona, at the altar.  But she, of course, was only using Matt as a way to get Sean and Christian to operate on her new baby son, who had some hideous skin disease.  After Ava broke Matt's heart by revealing that she never loved him, she then abandoned her baby because the child would forever be scarred from the surgery - and Ava has always liked to surround herself with only "beautiful" things.  However, at the end, Matt convinced her to reconcile by allowing her to become the new mother of his "beautiful" daughter, Jenna (his child by the late Kimber).  So the three of them went off together as one very creepy family, and I felt sorry for poor Jenna, who would now be raised by that gruesome twosome.

Meanwhile, Julia (Sean's ex-wife and Matt's mother) moved to London to marry some rich guy and live happily ever after, and Liz - pregnant with Sean's child through artificial insemination - became Christian's new partner in the plastic surgery practice.  And after a dead Kimber visited Christian in a dream to reveal that she had to kill herself to get away from him and that Sean would also end up dead because of their close friendship, Dr. Troy cut his partner loose and persuaded him to go off to Bucharest and begin a new life with his new son (Ava's baby).  Christian then went to a bar for a drink, where a pretty young woman only became interested in him after he revealed that he was a doctor - "a plastic surgeon" - which were his final words.  It was a nice - and appropriate - last scene, and even though the last two episodes weren't as fun and outrageous as some of my favorite installments of the series, I still liked the way the writers brought closure to all the characters.

Despite my unhappiness with Nip/Tuck's final two seasons, I still loved the series' first five - especially the ongoing love triangle of Sean, Christian and Julia (played to perfection by Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon and Joely Richardson).  So I thought it would be fun to share my 10 favorite episodes out of the 100 that were produced from July 22, 2003, until March 3, 2010.  Here they are in chronological order:

1) "Kimber Henry" (Episode 23, Season 2 - August 24, 2004)
Kimber is now a successful porn star with her very own sex doll produced in her image.  However, she is unhappy with the doll's vagina and wants McNamara/Troy to surgically alter it.  Sean has sex with the doll, and later he begins an affair with the real Kimber.



2) "Joan Rivers" (Episode 29, Season 2 - October 5, 2004)
Comedian Joan Rivers (as herself) comes to McNamara/Troy to have all of her previous plastic surgeries undone.  Meanwhile, the shocking truth about Ava is revealed - she was once a homosexual man who married the doctor that made her a woman (played by Alec Baldwin).  Ava breaks up with Matt and goes off to Paris after her son kills himself.  Also, a serial attacker called The Carver ends up slashing Christian in this second season finale. 



3) "Quentin Costa" (Episode 44, Season 3 - December 20, 2005)
In this third season finale, actor Brian Kerwin plays the deranged, white supremacist father of Matt's girlfriend, Ariel (Brittany Snow), who kidnaps Matt and Cherry Peck, the transsexual whom Matt once beat up.  Meanwhile, The Carver is finally unmasked - and it's bisexual plastic surgeon Quentin Costa (Bruno Campos), who fakes his own death and escapes to Spain with his sister, detective Kit McGraw (she helped him commit the attacks).  



Continue reading...

Let's Get 'Lost': Perry Como Lives Again!

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

I've never been a big Sayid fan. Actor Naveen Andrews is excellent in the role, but all the torturing and killing and pining away after the pretty but bland Nadia has made his character rather boring. Being an assassin with a heart of gold just doesn't do that much for me. So when I saw that last night's Lost was all about Mr. Jarrah, I wasn't expecting to like it all that much. However, I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by the show, which had me on the edge of my seat by the very end.

So let's take a closer look at what happened with our favorite characters this week:

Sayid Jarrah: Let's begin with Sayid since it was his moment in the spotlight last night. The Parallel Time story was kind of drag for the first half of the episode as he was reunited with his beloved Nadia, who is now unhappily married to his brother in this off-kilter world. She and Sayid are still madly in love with each other as she wrote him unanswered letters when he was in Australia. But I found the financial troubles of Sayid's brother yawn-inducing - until we were introduced to the bad guy whom he borrowed money from: Martin Keamy (played by Kevin Durand), whom we previously met as the nasty lead mercenary on the freighter. He came to the island to capture Ben, who killed him. Last night Sayid ended up fatally shooting him after the man roughed up his brother. I have to confess that I was kind of sorry to see the hunky Durand meet his maker once again - the 36-year-old actor was looking mighty fine - but his character was a bastard so I guess he deserved to die.
Continue reading...

The 50 Grooviest Guys of Daytime Soaps, Part 2

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Today I'm continuing my countdown of favorite daytime soap actors. To see what groovy guys I chose for #41-50, click here to read Part 1.

Now here are the next ten (and, FYI, that's Jonathan Frid in the photo with his Dark Shadows co-star, Grayson Hall):

40) Thom Christopher
Best Role: Carlo Hesser, One Life to Live (1990-92, 1996-97, 2005, 2008)
Other Roles: Noel Douglas, The Edge of Night (1974)
Earl Merrick, Love of Life (1977)
Mortimer Bern, One Life to Live (1992-93, 1997)
Dante Partou/Joe Young, Loving (1993-94)
Colonel Dax, Guiding Light (1999-2002)



39) Bernard Barrow
Best Role: Johnny Ryan, Ryan's Hope (1975-89)
Other Roles: Earl Dana, Where the Heart Is (1969-70)
Dan Kincaid, The Secret Storm (1970-74)
Ira Paulson, The Edge of Night (1974-75)
Louie Slavinsky, Loving (1990-93)



38) Charles Keating
Best Role: Carl Hutchins, Another World (1983-85, 1991-98, 1999)
Other Roles: Dr. Damon Lazarre, All My Children (1987-88)
Niles Mason, As the World Turns (1989-90)
James Richfield, Port Charles (2001-03)



Continue reading...

Groovy Reader of the Month: Steven Litchford

user-pic
Marc Harshbarger

I love pop culture of the 1960s, '70s and '80s - and that's why my cat is named Mr. Grant.

Last month I began Groovy Reader of the Month in order to thank those of you who read and support Deep Dish. I'm happy to announce that the second winner of this prestigious title is the fabulous Steven Litchford of Michigan, who writes the following five wildly different blogs:

No Excuse, No Explanation: Life on Earth in the Year 2010: A fun pop culture blog with such weekly features as Hump Day Wednesday and Guilty Pleasure Thursday (last week author Jackie Collins was his guilty pleasure).

My Life, My Thoughts...: Steven's daily journal of his life, which he describes as "sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but always real, always honest, always me."

S.A. Designs: This showcases his design business, in which he creates necklaces and earrings. Click here to see his online store.

Man Dish: Recipes and Ramblings...: Steven loves to cook and entertain, so he shares his favorite recipes and drinks on this blog.

FETISH: When Steven was twelve and riding a train home from Chicago, he was mesmerized by a lovely female passenger wearing red leather high heels. And ever since that day, he's had a fascination with feet of all shapes, sizes, color and even gender. This blog allows him to share his fetish through photography and erotic storytelling.

You would think with all this blogging going on that the busy Mr. Litchford wouldn't have much time to read other people's work - but he always seems to find a spare moment to post a kind or funny comment about the Dish. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

"I loved her on Ryan's Hope, and she kicks ass as Roxy on OLTL...I love how she stands up for what she believes...awesome lady, thanx for sharing" (referring to my Deeper Dish interview with actress Ilene Kristen).

"He is perfect...just the right amount of muscle and hair...and the jeans fit just right....oh my, is it hot in here?" (referring to Dish of the Day #337).

"I so want to lick those abs" (referring to Dish of the Day #345).
Continue reading...

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook