New movie watch-from-home recommendation: "Driveways" (2019), starring Brian Dennehy

“Driveways,” a 2019 film that was just released on-line early this month, is a small, quiet movie about loss in our lives, death, and how we make it through somehow, with help from connections, to family and friends. The plot involves a mother, Cathy, and her young son, Cody, who travel to the home of... Read more »

Violetta Muzychenko, 1950-2019 (poem)

Sparrows fly to and from a tall tree behind my apartment Near where you’d often come through my back door bringing me bags of food and your love   The birds fly up onto the nearby roof of my building or dash this way and that into other trees to the east and to the... Read more »

Stay-at-home movie recommendation: Kirk Douglas in "The Bad and the Beautiful"

With so many of us now under shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, I have a recommendation for a stay-at-home movie you can easily rent through YouTube for a mere $2 or so: “The Bad and the Beautiful,” a 1952 Vincente Minnelli drama starring Kirk Douglas as a scheming, charming movie producer hated and... Read more »

Fall poem

Not another one about golden leaves, you hope, And the crispness in the air, and the quiet sun. No. This one’s about our thinning hair and our slowing walk and our happiness and disappointment when all is said and done. Like the pine cones that are dropping from the trees now All of us will... Read more »

In the spirit of Independence Day, in this nation of immigrants, here's one immigrant's story

Obviously, immigration is all over the news these days. As we celebrate Independence Day, it’s good to remember that all of us, either directly or through our ancestors, came from somewhere else. Even the Native Americans came from Siberia. Here’s one immigrant’s story. Violetta Muzychenko was born in 1950 in the Soviet Union. Specifically, she... Read more »

This spring (poem)

The birds are singing to me this spring. Their songs sing to me of the color blue, Of Thursday evenings. When I see their beaks open, And listen, I think of a child And her dreams, And feel myself floating High above the battlefield Where my dreams taste like music And the blue sky is... Read more »

Elton John new biopic "Rocketman" is a wild, fun ride

“Rocketman,” the new film about Elton John from Paramount Pictures, is a wild, fun ride. With Sir Elton himself as one of the executive producers, the movie is full of color, and, of course, great music. At times, it seems like a true biographical examination of the life of the rock and pop superstar who... Read more »

Cancer patient says cannabis oil treatment has prolonged her life

The days when marijuana was used just to get people high are long gone. As has gone on throughout human history for thousands of years, people around the world are finding that the green, spike-leafed cannabis plant can have beneficial effects for people afflicted with various diseases. Violetta Muzychenko, of the Chicago suburb Grayslake, Ill.,... Read more »

"A Star is Born" shines brightly

Movies about show business are as old as the medium itself. From Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in the 1930’s telling their teenage friends, “Let’s put on a show, guys!,” to the Broadway dancers of “A Chorus Line” (1985), there’s something inherently entertaining about watching performers perform as performers. In its fourth Hollywood version over... Read more »

Chicago-made short film "Tranheist" will aim to show personal side of being transgender

“She told me what it was like being a trans woman.” Filmmaker Maureen Maundu, 32, was talking to me the other day about Lila Star, the lead actress in Maundu’s upcoming short film, “Tranheist.” “Lila’s great.” Maundu said. “She completely understood who Morgan was.” Morgan is the film’s lead character, a transexual woman desperate for reassignment... Read more »