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  • Gire: 'Are You Here' doesn't step up to the challenge Aug 21, 2014 5:30 AM
    The only way that writer/director Matthew Weiner's anemic comic buddy movie could have been saved would be if co-stars Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis departed their comfort zones and switched their stereotyped characters. Make Galifianakis the charming, self-centered horndog and turn Wilson into the nervous, manic nut job. That would have been the most daring comic role reversal since Dan Aykroyd defied expectations with John Belushi in 1981's “Neighbors.” But nooooooooooooooo!

     
  • Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge Aug 21, 2014 10:04 AM
    “Dancing With the Stars” says two-time champion Julianne Hough is returning to the ballroom as a judge this season. She will preside alongside Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.

     
  • World's fastest clapper hails from Arlington Heights Aug 21, 2014 5:54 AM
    Bryan Bednarek takes a deep breath, relaxes his shoulders and claps. This isn't mild-mannered applause. This is supersonic clapping, the kind that puts the Arlington Heights 23-year-old in a category all his own. Bednarek is the world's fastest clapper. "We are obligated to put that on the Internet," Rob Scallon says of his friend's record-breaking clapping.

     
  • Fostering a love of art at Glen Ellyn Festival of the Arts Aug 21, 2014 12:57 PM
    Fourteen-year-old Miles Evans, a photographer with Down syndrome, will be one of many artists displaying his work this weekend at the Glen Ellyn Festival of the Arts at Lake Ellyn Park. Here's what you need to know about both Miles and the fest.

     
  • ‘When the Game’ sticks to cliched playbook Aug 22, 2014 10:34 AM
    Perfection is impossible. That’s the message of the fact-based “When the Game Stands Tall,” a by-the-book sports drama based on the storied De La Salle Spartans, the high school football team whose 151-game winning streak, achieved between 1992 and 2003, remains a national record. But rather than explaining how this private Catholic school in Concord, Calif., and its coach, Bob Ladouceur, achieved this remarkable feat, “Game” is more interested in what happened after the streak ended.

     
  • Gire: 'Possession' possesses underwhelming scares Aug 22, 2014 10:35 AM
    “The Possession of Michael King” offers nothing new to the “found footage” horror canon. Its scares mostly come from visual/audio ambushes, climaxed by a disappointing and underwhelming homage to “The Exorcist.” For the record, the film's single cringe-worthy moment involves King pressing a needle into the top of a finger. He doesn't feel anything. By the end, unfortunately, neither do we.

     
  • James Rollins delivers in 'The 6th Extinction' Aug 20, 2014 7:37 AM
    The Sigma Force discovers a threat that could destroy the human race in James Rollins' 10th book to feature his team of elite scientists and soldiers. In “The 6th Extinction,” a military research station located near Yosemite National Park experiences a breach. When help arrives, every living thing within 50 square miles is dead, including the bacteria in the dirt.

     
  • Ace Frehley outta this world on ‘Space Invader Aug 20, 2014 5:30 AM
    With seven-plus years of sobriety under his belt, original Kiss lead guitarist Ace Frehley has recorded his best solo album ("Space Invader") since his groundbreaking self-titled album in 1978. With walls of wailing guitars, droning feedback and snarling solos, Frehley launches an old-school ’70s-style hard-rock jam fest.

     
  • ‘Anything Goes’ for Florida Georgia Line’s 2nd LP Aug 20, 2014 5:45 AM
    Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of country dude duo Florida Georgia Line know all eyes on Music Row are on them as they prepare to release their second album, “Anything Goes,” on Oct. 14. Everybody wants to see if country’s favorite party boys can keep the festivities rolling, and Kelley and Hubbard don’t really mind. “A little bit of that pressure creates some pretty good creativity,” Kelley said.

     
  • Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams Aug 20, 2014 5:57 PM
    Billy Crystal will pay tribute to Robin Williams, his longtime friend and fellow comedian, at next week’s Emmy Awards. Crystal will honor Williams as part of the traditional “in memoriam” segment for industry members who died during the past year, Emmy executive producer Don Mischer said in a statement Wednesday. Mischer said the memorial segment during Monday’s ceremony will include a performance from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Williams was found dead in his Northern California home on Aug. 11. At last year’s Emmys, Williams honored his friend and mentor Jonathan Winters during the tribute segment. The Emmy Awards will be broadcast by NBC.

     
  • The Hypocrites’ epic theatrical event ‘All Our Tragic’ triumphs Aug 20, 2014 5:46 PM
    “All Our Tragic” is many things. A bold, galvanizing effort from adapter/director Sean Graney, this compilation of the 32 surviving Greek tragedies — in its world premiere at The Hypocrites — is an epic event in every sense of the word. Years in the making, Graney’s four-part theatrical marathon unfolds over nearly 12 hours (including intermissions and dinner breaks) in a loft-like storefront in Chicago’s Wicker Park. A fresh retelling of oft-told tales of love and betrayal, war and vengeance, duty and pride, “All Our Tragic” is contemporary, conversational and cannily crafted. It’s also hugely entertaining. But more than anything, “All Our Tragic” is a labor of love.

     
  • ‘Sid the Science Kid’ stage show to come to Genesee Aug 20, 2014 5:09 PM
    Tickets for "Sid the Science Kid Live!" on Sunday, Nov. 9, at Waukegan's Genesee Theatre go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22.

     
  • Movies, comic books, TV all share spotlight at Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont Aug 20, 2014 10:20 PM
    It's back, suburban pop-culture fans — the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, the four-day (Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 21-24) celebration of comic books, TV shows, movies, celebrities and more in Rosemont. This year's guests include "Arrow" star (and former Aurora resident) John Barrowman, comic-book writer Marv Wolfman and horror-film auteur John Carpenter.

     
  • Smithsonian adds LGBT history to museum collection Aug 20, 2014 5:45 AM
    Hundreds of photographs, papers and historical objects documenting the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were added to the Smithsonian Institution’s collection Tuesday, including items from the popular TV show “Will and Grace.” Show creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick along with NBC donated objects to the National Museum of American History.

     
  • ‘Little House’ star Melissa Gilbert coming to Naperville Aug 20, 2014 2:21 PM
    Television personality Melissa Gilbert, child star of “Little House on the Prairie” and former Screen Actors Guild president, will visit Naperville next month to discuss her new book, “My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours.” Gilbert’s appearance is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 18.

     
  • Street Fest brings bands, food, games to downtown Palatine Aug 20, 2014 3:14 PM
    With three days of live music from some of the area’s favorite bands, food for every taste, and plenty of activities and entertainment for kids, the heart of Palatine will be the place to be in the Northwest suburbs this weekend. The annual Downtown Palatine Street Fest kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Brockway and Slade streets, just north of Palatine Road and only blocks from the village’s Metra station.

     
  • Buy rare fruits, veggies and plants at Heirloom Garden Show Aug 20, 2014 4:42 PM
    “Love Lies Bleeding” and “Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate” may sound like titles of books or songs, but in the plant world, they are vintage flowers. See them in person when Garfield Farm Museum holds its 25th annual Heirloom Garden Show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, in Campton Hills.

     
  • Rapper Gucci Mane sentenced on federal gun charge Aug 20, 2014 5:57 PM
    Rapper Gucci Mane was sentenced Wednesday to serve three years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to a federal firearms charge several months ago.

     
  • Geneva Concours d’Elegance celebrates ‘the art of the car’ Aug 20, 2014 8:01 AM
    This Sunday, the streets of downtown Geneva will be filled with cars and car lovers, when the 10th annual Concours d’Elegance rolls into town. The event will showcase 175 invitational cars from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. Car clubs are expected to display about 100 more cars in the Kane County Courthouse parking area as well.

     
  • Author tells story of wild ride of Benny Binion Aug 19, 2014 5:30 AM
    Benny Binion, native of tiny Pilot Grove, Texas, began his career as a crooked horse trader, graduated to bootlegging, took over the policy racket in Dallas, broke into the big time by opening the Horseshoe casino in Las Vegas, launched the World Series of Poker and turned the once back-alley game of Texas Hold’em into a worldwide spectator sport. Along the way, as author Doug J. Swanson tells it in this new biography, “Blood Aces,” Benny cavorted with gangsters; corrupted cops and U.S. senators; and ordered an untold number of murders.

     
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