People & Arts

 
 

Arts Profiles, Interviews, Insights


Clint Eastwood in 'Unforgiven'

MOVIES Screenwriter David Webb Peoples Recalls His Favorite Script, Unforgiven, with Clint Eastwood

 

Mikey Rourke in the 1987 movie 'Angel Heart'

MOVIES 35 Years on, Soul of Angel Heart with Mickey Rourke Intact

 

Guitarist Mike Aquino, photo by Ron Horne, Rockin' Nature Photography

MUSIC Coronavirus Devastated the Arts. Guitarist Mike Aquino’s Story

 

Movie Director William Friedkin

MOVIES The Fateful Career of Film Director William Friedkin

 

Belinda Davids, Moresby Press photo

MUSIC South African Singer Belinda Davids Soars to Stardom [interview with audio]

 

Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of the band Rush perform in 1981. Photo by James Borneman

MUSIC With Neil Peart’s Lyrics, Rush Rocked Literary References

 

Authors Gregory W Beaubien and Philip Caputo

AUTHORS IN CONVERSATION Gregory W. Beaubien Asks Philip Caputo about His Novel Hunter’s Moon [with audio]

 

Vendor in djemma el fna square of Marrakesh, Morocco. Photo by Greg Beaubien

BOOKS Artists, Authors Drawn to Morocco, Land of Dreams

 

Trouble Boys The True Story of the Replacements Bob Mehr author

BOOKS Trouble Boys Tells Bizarre Story of80s Rockers The Replacements

 

Jean Michel Basquiat

TV Rise, Tragic Fall of Artist
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Told in Documentary Rage to Riches

 

Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler in 2013 movie 'Scenic Route'

MOVIES Down the Road, Audiences Still Finding Scenic Route with Josh Duhamel, Dan Fogler

 

Hedy Lamarr

TV Bombshell Tells Story of Actress, Inventor Hedy Lamarr, Genius behind the Pretty Face

 

Doug Nichol, filmmaker, director of documentary 'California Typewriter'

MOVIES Documentary Director Doug Nichol’s California Typewriter Passion Project [with audio]


Janet Leigh 'Psycho' shower scene

MOVIES Anatomy of Janet Leigh’s
Psycho Shower Scene Dissected in Documentary 78/52


Classical pianist Mark Valenti

MUSIC For Hardworking Pianist Mark Valenti, Talent Just the Beginning

 

Frank Vincent in the movie 'Chicago Overcoat'

MOVIES Actor Frank Vincent Found His Fit in Chicago Overcoat

 

Writer Gregory W. Beaubien, author of novel 'Shadows the Sizes of Cities,' a thriller set in Morocco

BOOKS Author Gregory W. Beaubien Writes Sensual Morocco Thriller Shadows the Sizes of Cities [with video, audio, music]

Julia Garner in 'Inventing Anna'

TV Inventing Anna, Starring Julia Garner, a Return to Shared Culture?

 

Orson Welles and Paul Bowles

THEATER When Orson Welles Collaborated with Paul Bowles

 

Liam Neeson in The Marksman

MOVIES After Decade of Persistence, The Marksman Writers Chris Charles, Danny Kravitz Hit Bull’s-Eye

 

Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson in the movie Chinatown

MOVIES Faye Dunaway, Jack Nicholson in ChinatownClimax of 1970s Cinema?

 

Actor Michael Shannon, left, and playwright Tracy Letts discuss 2007 movie 'Bug' at Music Box Theatre in Chicago, January 9 2020. Moresby Press photo

MOVIES Actor Michael Shannon, Writer Tracy Letts Talk Bug

 

Jim Peterik in his recording studio

MUSIC Jim Peterik and World Stage Rock in Winds of Change [IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW with audio]

Jim Peterik and The Ides of March perform at City Winery Chicago March 4 2020 Moresby Press photo

MUSIC With New Record, Jim Peterik and The Ides of March Play On

 

Paul Bowles in Tangier Morocco

BOOKS Visiting Author, Composer Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco

 

John Huston, Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich on set of The Other Side of the Wind

MOVIES Director Orson Welles’s Last Film The Other Side of the Wind Finally Released

 

William Burroughs at the Prop Theatre in Chicago October 20 1988 photo by Richard Alm

BOOKS Once a Hipster Hero, Writer William S. Burroughs Would Be a Political Pariah Today—And He’d Rebel

 

Ray LaMontagne photo courtesy of RCA Records

MUSIC On New Album, Ray LaMontagne Cries for the Light

 

Director William Friedkin in his 2017 documentary The Devil and Father Amorth

MOVIES Director William Friedkin Talks Exorcism Documentary The Devil and Father Amorth [DEFINITIVE STORY with audio]

 

David Mamet and Rick Kogan

BOOKS With His Novel Chicago, Writer David Mamet Comes Home

 

The Astrologer movie

MOVIES Craig Denney’s Would-be Cult Classic The Astrologer Resurfaces

 

Director Jamie Dagg

MOVIES Director Jamie M. Dagg Talks Crime Drama Sweet Virginia

 

Kenneth Alexander in documentary California Typewriter

MOVIES For Repairman Ken Alexander and Others, California Typewriter a Meditation on Values that Endure

 

Philip Caputo novel Some Rise by Sin

BOOKS Author Philip Caputo’s Daredevil Journalism Informs His Novel Some Rise by Sin




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Mondo Cozmo

MUSIC Mondo Cozmo Refreshes Rock with Hopeful ‘Shine’

April 5, 2017

“MY FRIENDS ARE SO ALONE and it breaks my heart / My friends don’t understand we all are lost,” Josh Ostrander, aka Mondo Cozmo, sings in his moving new single “Shine.” Despite the sadness of those words, the tune is an anthem of hope with its chorus “Let ’em get high / Let ’em get stoned / Everything will be all right if you let it go.” The sentiment can be taken literally or as metaphor; either way, the song acknowledges our pain and then blasts it away through musical catharsis.

“Shine” follows a simple chord progression transposed into magical territory by clamping a capo on the fourth fret of Ostrander’s acoustic guitar—and by his soulful lyrics, melody and voice as he sings: “Stick with me Jesus through the coming storm / I’ve come to you in search of something I have lost. Shine down a light on me and show a path / I promise you I will return if you take me back.”


Sidney Lumet

TV Sidney Lumet’s Moral Direction

Jan. 6, 2017

“I’M NOT DIRECTING THE MORAL MESSAGE,” the filmmaker says in American Masters: By Sidney Lumet, on PBS. “I’m directing that piece of the people, and if I do it well, the moral message will come through.”

Subtly or otherwise, a moral sense pervades the prolific director’s 44 movies in 50 years—starting with 12 Angry Men in 1957, until his last film, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, in 2007. In between, Lumet gave us Fail-Safe, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Prince of the City, The Verdict and many other pictures, at a rate of nearly one per year.

As he explains early in the PBS documentary, an experience that he had as a young soldier in World War II instilled in him a lifelong desire to fight injustice. Near Calcutta, Lumet witnessed a 12-year-old Indian girl being gang-raped by American G.I.’s on a train. He did not intervene.

Lumet, who grew up “dirt poor” on Manhattan’s Lower East Side during the Great Depression, says that all his films share the bedrock concern: “Is it fair?”

“I love characters who are rebels,” he says, “because not accepting the status quo, not accepting the way it’s always been done, not accepting that this is the way it has to be, is the fundamental area of human progress—and drama, God knows.” The other perennial source of drama is family, he says.

Lumet, who died in 2011 at the age of 86, three years after filming the interview, never received an Academy Award for Best Director. He was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2005.


Gael Garcia a Bernal in movie Neruda

MOVIES Neruda Explores Borders of Art, Reality

Dec. 30, 2016

“AM I FICTION?” the detective who is chasing Chilean poet Pablo Neruda asks in Neruda, the intriguing new film from director Pablo Larrain. In fact, the policeman played by Gael Garcia Bernal (above) is invented for the movie—not just as a plot device in a game of cat-and-mouse down the length of the slender South American country, but to symbolize real and imagined persecutors of leftists who “like to play the victim,” as another character in the film puts it. 

Nobel Prize-winning poet Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Reyes Basoalto, who went by the pen name Pablo Neruda (after the Czech poet Jan Neruda), was also a diplomat and politician in Chile. When the country outlawed communism in 1948, Neruda—played in the film by Luis Gnecco—was forced into hiding, as other members of the party were arrested. (In the movie, a prison camp in the harsh Atacama Desert in northern Chile is run by Augusto Pinochet, who would later become dictator of the country after a coup d’etat against democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973.)

A reflection of Neruda’s writing style, which sometimes ventured into surrealism, the film toys with the relationship between reality and illusion, including the suggestion that the pampered, hedonistic poet perhaps wasn’t suited to speak for the country’s impoverished masses.

As the story unfolds, the beautifully shot film moves from the urban sophistication of Santiago to the port city of Valparaiso, and then south to Chile’s Lake District—a landscape of mountains and cloud-shrouded pine forests. The chase continues to the snow of the country’s southern reaches, where the dogged policeman—by now obsessed as much with trying to prove his own existence and worth as with apprehending Neruda—concludes his journey. Like a “second sea,” the Andes Mountains separate Chile from Argentina, where the poet eventually finds exile, supported by Pablo Picasso and other artists in Paris.

 

Rolling Stones Blue and Lonesome

MUSIC The Stones Roll Back into Chicago Blues

Dec. 27, 2016

IT MIGHT BE TEMPTING to dismiss Blue & Lonesome, the Rolling Stones’ new CD of blues cover versions, as minimal effort expended for maximum gain. After all, its 12 songs were all written by Chicago bluesmen in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, not by the Stones, and the band recorded the entire album in just three days, with no overdubs (the title track was done in one take). But with these raw, unpolished recordings, the Stones sound the most sincere they have for a long time. You hear the band playing live in the studio, but they might as well be performing at the smoky Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago’s South Side.

Four of the songs, including the title track, were originally recorded by Little Walter, and the galloping beat of his “I Gotta Go” is a highlight of the album. Other tunes simmer in a minor-key blues dirge, like “All of Your Love” by Magic Sam. Blue & Lonesome also covers Howlin’ Wolf (“Commit a Crime”), Little Johnny Taylor (“Everybody Knows About My Good Thing”), Eddie Taylor (“Ride ’Em On Down”), Lightnin’ Slim (“Hoo Doo Blues”), and Jimmy Reed (“Little Rain”).

The final two tracks are Willie Dixon songs— “Just Like I Treat You” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” the last with lead guitar by Eric Clapton, who happened to be working in the studio next door. The Stones are all in their 70s now (or close—Ronnie Wood is 69), and have returned to the passion for Chicago blues music that first inspired them more than half a century ago.

 

Everybody Behaves Badly

BOOKS The Opportunist Also Rises

Dec. 13, 2016

ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S RISE as a writer and public figure seemed fueled as much by his charisma—and all the well-connected supporters who helped launch his career—as by his talent and innovative writing style.

As Lesley M. M. Blume writes in her deliciously readable book Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Hemingway’s debut novel and ticket to stardom was a gossipy roman à clef about his own experiences traveling to a drunken fiesta in Spain with a group of friends in 1924. But the reportorial book, essentially non-fiction with just enough invention added to call it fiction, was elevated to high literature by a title taken from the Bible and the opening epigraph “You are all a lost generation” from Gertrude Stein.

Blume’s book reveals that for all his popularity, Hemingway was an opportunist and back-stabber who used his friends, wives and supporters to further his career. He then tossed them aside, and even publicly mocked them, once they had fulfilled their purposes for him. And yet, like those friends, Hemingway’s loyal fans and readers can’t help liking him, anyway.

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