Through the “Years”: an interview with Lauren Wood

There are a variety of ways in which you may have encountered the music of out singer/songwriter Lauren Wood over the years. Perhaps it was when she was still going by Ilene Rappaport in the late 1960s band Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers (great name, right?). Maybe it was a few years later when, along with her cousin, the in-demand violist Novi Novog, and bass player Ernie Eremita she was known as Chunky in the trio Chunky, Novi & Ernie. Chances are the way you will recognize Lauren Wood, as she came to be known on her first two solo […]

The whole story: an interview with The Half of It writer/director Alice Wu

In 2004, a few years after Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet and a few years before Awkwafina’s The Farewell, lesbian filmmaker Alice Wu’s acclaimed indie film debut Saving Face introduced audiences to one of our first out queer Asian female characters, Wil (played by Michelle Krusiec). The movie closely examined Wil’s relationship with her very traditional mother played by award-winning actress Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks). A hit on the festival and art house circuits, Saving Face was also a wonderful introduction to a promising filmmaker. As Wu elucidates in the following interview, much happened between the release […]

Safety in (small) numbers

Social distancing can be a challenge if you are in a band. It probably gets somewhat easier for musical duos and (possibly) trios. Tennis, married couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, have a habit of social distancing when it comes to writing their songs on long boat trips as they are known to do. For two people in the habit of keeping their distance from other folks, the timeless pop songs on Swimmer (Mutually Detrimental/Thirty Tigers) have a universal appeal. The evocative and suitably titled opener “I’ll Haunt You” lingers long after it ends. “Need Your Love” picks up the […]

Love story: an interview with award-winning actress and singer Linda Lavin

Award-winning theater and television veteran vet Linda Lavin isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Not that we would ever want her to. At almost 83 years of age, Lavin has just released a marvelous new album, Love Notes (Club 44), on which she performs a number of classics from the American songbook, as well as the new Joel Lindsey and Wayne Haun composition “Stars Would Fall”. Additionally, Lavin has been appearing regularly on TV shows such as Mom, The Santa Clarita Diet and Madam Secretary, to mention just a few. She is also scheduled to appear in the new […]

Doing the bunny hop

Screenwriter/director/actor Taika Waititi (Marvel box office blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok”) won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), based on the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. In its exaggerated irreverence, Waititi’s mind-bending film, about a Nazi youth’s imaginary friendship with Hitler, is both anti-hate and pro-peace. It’s an unabashed tribute to classic comedy geniuses that came before, including Mel Brooks (remember “Springtime For Hitler”?) and Monty Python. “Jojo Rabbit” arrived in theaters, and now on home video, as neo-Nazism is on the rise worldwide. It’s a sharp poke in the ribs, alternately […]

A girl can get burned

The early 19th century novels of Jane Austen, including “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice”, have never gone out of print. If movie studios, both domestic and foreign, have their way, film adaptations of her titles will also continue to be a part of our consciousness. Even if they’ve been made before. But do we really need two mini-series and one theatrical release version of “Sense and Sensibility”? Additionally, not only were there feature-length and mini-series versions of “Pride & Prejudice”, but also a zom-com remake. Austen’s “Emma” has suffered a similar fate, including a mini-series, a Hollywood edition […]

Big gulp

According to Wikipedia, pica is categorized as “a psychological disorder characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice (pagophagia); hair (trichophagia); paper (xylophagia); drywall or paint; sharp objects (acuphagia); metal (metallophagia); stones (lithophagia) or soil (geophagia); glass (hyalophagia); feces (coprophagia); and chalk”. In “Swallow” (IFC Films), the feature length debut by gender-fluid writer/director Carlo Mirabella-Davis, Hunter (Haley Bennett, who has a Jennifer Lawrence quality) and Richie (the striking Austin Stowell) are young newlyweds, enjoying their incredible new home, purchased for them by Richie’s affluent parents Michael (David Rasche) and Katherine (Elizabeth Marvel). Richie, who works […]

What does Chicago sound like?

During the great COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 we have plenty of time to ponder all sorts of things. Such as what does Chicago sound like? In the early days, Chicago sounded like the blues and jazz. By the 1960s, Chicago’s rock scene included bands such as The Buckinghams, The Cryan’ Shames, Shadows of Knight and New Colony Six. Named for the city, Chicago went on to become one the biggest bands in the world during the `70s and beyond. Other `70s acts included Styx, The Ides of March, Cheap Trick and REO Speedwagon. The Chicago music scene lost ground to […]

Laughter and Life

Queer comedy keeps getting better and better, especially when it comes to our sisters. From groundbreaking lesbian comedy pioneers such as Kate Clinton, Elvira Kurt, Judy Gold, Karen Williams, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Marga Gomez, and Lea DeLaria to the living legends Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro, Rosie O’Donnell, and Ellen DeGeneres to the current wave of funny females including Kate McKinnon, Fortune Feimster, Jessica Kirson, Hannah Gadsby, and the subject of this interview, Jen Kober. A natural-born storyteller, Kober has established herself in the realm even winning awards for her work on NPR’s “Snap Judgement.” This also holds true of her comedy […]

Tarantino-a-Go-Go

Here is a trigger warning  this review contains possible spoilers! Obsessive auteur Quentin Tarantino, who won a 2020 Golden Globe for his screenplay, takes his longstanding cinematic love affair with Hollywood to new and exhilarating heights in Once Upon A Time  In Hollywood (Sony / Columbia). Drawing on his own oeuvre as well as the vast entertainments from mid-20th century movies and television, the sprawling (nearly three hours!) epic is Tarantinos most ambitious patchwork quilt film; alternately comforting and gripping. Bordering on being washed-up, actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo Di Caprio) is at a career crossroads in early 1969. After his […]