Thursday, January 21, 2021

Anthony Michael Hall, Debbie Gibson, Charlie Gillespie in new teen drama, THE CLASS


Debbie Gibson and Charlie Gillespie join Anthony Michael Hall in cast of new teen high school drama ‘The Class’ 


  Actress/singer Debbie Gibson and Charlie Gillespie (Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms) are set to star in The Class, from writer/director Nicholas Celozzi.

Inspired by the 1985 classic, The Breakfast Club, the coming-of-age drama tells the story of a diverse group of high school seniors who are obligated to show up to school on a Saturday in order to graduate. Challenged by their acting teacher to improvise and create their own characters, six teenagers are forced to confront their own prejudices, cultural differences and hidden fears in an evolving world of social unrest. 

Gibson will play acting teacher “Miranda,” a creative mentor who herself is a product of an abused past- challenges her reluctant teenage students to break through their emotional walls, unaware of what’s to come. “[The Class] is a true-to-life gritty portrayal of the issues that our young people are facing today,” Gibson said. “Having taught songwriting workshops to help teens express themselves, this piece really resonated with me.”  She adds "I'm super excited to be working with Anthony Michael Hall as I've admired his work for decades, as well as working with such talented actors of this generation like Charlie!"

Gibson is best known as a singer-songwriter and record producer who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest female to write, produce and perform a #1 on the Billboard Charts with a pop career spanning three decades, including her mega-hit album Electric Youth and biggest single “Lost in Your Eyes.” She made her theatrical debut with the Broadway production of Les Miserables and starred on Broadway in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Cabaret.  She also starred in U.S. Broadway tours of Grease, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cinderella, and Chicago. Her on-screen acting credits include Hallmark Channel’s highly-rated Summer Nights franchise, Summer of Dreams and Wedding of Dreams. In 2021, she will appear in the musical episode of Lucifer on Netflix and release her first pop album in two decades. Repped by David Shapira & Associates.

In The Class, Gillespie will play “Jason” a cocky high school senior who lost his parents at a young age and is being raised by his court-appointed uncle. His classmates, along with his scene partner, push each other to their breaking point resulting in this self-discovery, which leads to unrelenting chaos threatening the expulsion of the students by their assistant principal. “They ultimately find themselves moved by the realities that each person endures,” Gillespie said. “The characters in this film represent individuals who are having trouble fitting in; kids who don’t just need a ‘friend,’ but people who’ll actually have your back when times get weird and who’ll make you laugh so hard, your gut hurts.”

Gillespie currently stars in the Netflix global hit musical series Julie and the Phantoms as the breakout role of “Luke.” The series is created and produced by the legendary Kenny Ortega and is based off of the successful Brazilian series of the same name. Charlie will next be seen as the lead in the feature Love You Anyway, a drama by Wayfarer Studios and first-time director Anna Matz. The project is part of the Six Feet Apart Experiment created by Wayfarer’s Justin Baldoni, the filmmaker behind the Disney+ drama Clouds. He is repped by Atlas Artists, Luber Roklin, Vanderwerff Talent and Meyer & Downs. 

Original Breakfast Club star Anthony Michael Hall will executive produce and also star as Mr. Faulk, the antagonistic high school assistant principal. Hall’s best-known roles include Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. He is also credited as the youngest cast member ever on Saturday Night Live. Hall’s recent work includes co-starring with Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills, ABC’s The Goldbergs and a Netflix original, War Machine co-starring with Brad Pitt and NBC’s The Blacklist. Repped by Untitled Entertainment.

Mike Sportelli and Dora Whitaker serve as Executive Producers. Freddy Braidy, (Gospel Hill, Rescue Dawn, Blonde Ambition) will also serve as producer while Bob French will co-produce.

Celozzi is presently overseeing development and production of several feature-length films with Mike Sportelli, his producing partner at Monaco Films: 2 Days/1963 and The Legitimate Wiseguy directed by George Gallo set to shoot this summer. He served as Executive producer on the 2018 installment of the Kickboxer film franchise, Kickboxer: Retaliation and produced the 2016 Kickboxer: Vengeance. Celozzi has written and produced psycho-thrillers The Lost Angel, Nightmare Boulevard and Shattered now on Amazon Prime. 

The Class is set to film in Chicago this spring.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Chicago Humanities Festival >> Celebrating the Legacy of MLK



This week we're reading a new review of Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza's recent book, The Purpose of Power, which examines the process of organizing for social change and how activism is developing in the context of omnipresent social media.

Fiction fans rejoice! George Saunders's new book playfully explores classics of Russian literature, charting a course through the work of Chekov and Tolstoy once reserved for the students in his classroom.

We're also enjoying a new episode of Nerdette with Greta Johnsen, with advice on how to manage the deluge of news in this brave new year, as well as the recent revival of sea shanties.



Today we are celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a conversation between Peniel E. Joseph and Jonathan Eig, as well as an interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on his research and promotion of African American history.

Peniel E. Joseph on Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Popular accounts of the 1960s-era civil rights movement are often reduced to the story of two extraordinary visionaries: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Peniel E. Joseph argues that by focusing on their differing doctrines of self-defense versus nonviolence, we’ve been blind to the scope of their shared activism and communion. Join Joseph and Jonathan Eig, author of a forthcoming biography on King, for a conversation about how the legacies of these civil rights leaders informs the current struggle for racial justice.

2019 Chicago Tribune Literary Award: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the renowned literary critic and historian, is widely celebrated as one of the foremost authorities on the history of African American literature. Credited with discovering the earliest known literary works by African American writers, Gates is also celebrated for the work he has done to make history accessible and appealing through his PBS show Finding Your Roots, and through his numerous, award-winning documentaries. Gates is joined by Bruce Dold, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune.



We are grateful for your support in bringing important ideas to audiences everywhere. Thank you for continuing to help CHF as we expand our digital presence during this time.







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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Field Museum reopening this week, with Free Days next week (Chicago, IL.)



© Field Museum, Michelle Kuo


            Following a two-month closure due to COVID-19, the Field Museum will be reopening to its members on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22, and to the general public on Saturday, January 23. On Monday, January 25 and Thursday, January 28, general admission will be free for Illinois residents. The museum will maintain its safety precautions from the summer and fall, including mandatory mask usage, social distancing, and reduced capacity.


“We’re thrilled to welcome visitors back to the Field Museum so they can have fun and learn about the world around us while remaining safe,” says Ray DeThorne, the museum’s chief marketing officer. “People haven’t been able to get out and travel lately, but when you come to the museum, you can explore ancient Egypt, watch a traditional Chinese shadow puppet show, stand beneath the world’s largest dinosaur, and come face to face with the world’s best-preserved T. rex. These are the kinds of experiences you can’t get from home. And the museum is so big, visitors can safely explore while still social distancing.”


“The museum’s reopening is a great chance to see Aps√°aooke Women and Warriors, the Field’s first major exhibition curated by a Native scholar,”  Jaap Hoogstraten, the museum’s director of exhibitions. “The exhibition opened the day before the museum’s initial closure in March, and we’re excited to welcome people back to learn about Aps√°alooke culture, told by Indigenous voices.”


“Our first priority is the safety of our visitors and staff,” says DeThorne. “The Field is a scientific institution, so we’ve been closely following the guidelines set out by medical experts, and we’ll continue doing everything we can to make visiting the museum a safe, stress-free experience.”


The museum will maintain the safety guidelines it began this summer, including capping daily attendance at 25% of the museum’s full capacity, installing floor markers to ensure social distancing, and designating one-way paths through the museum to guide visitor traffic. All visitors and staff will be required to wear masks while inside the building (with age- and health-related exceptions as detailed on our website). Masks will be available for purchase for visitors who don’t have their own. The museum also has 144 hand-sanitizing stations for visitors to use. Touch-screen interactives and high-touch areas, including the Crown Family PlayLab, will not be available for the time being, as well as exhibition galleries that are too small to support social distancing.


Reopening timeline

Wednesday, January 20: tickets and memberships available for pre-purchase

Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22: museum reopens for members

Saturday, January 23: museum reopens to the general public

Monday, January 25 and Thursday, January 28: Free Days for Illinois residents


After reopening, the museum will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with plans to eventually reopen seven days a week. The museum’s hours will continue to be 9am5pm.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Chicago Detours >> Know a passionate storyteller? We’re hiring!

Join our team!
We're hiring! As tough as 2020 was, we've landed on our feet and have a growing demand for our virtual events. 

We are actively recruiting for a host to learn our “Badass Women of History” virtual event, which celebrates diverse women whose stories still resonate with us today. We encourage applications from minorities and members of historically marginalized communities.

What our event hosts need:
  • An enthusiastic presence and a desire to connect with people.
  • Clear presentation and public-speaking skills.
  • Experience as a teacher or tour guide.
  • A love for storytelling.
  • Comfort using virtual event platforms like Zoom.
  • Flexible schedule.
Read the full job description and how to apply here

Please forward this email to storytellers in your life! 

NEW! Chicago Architecture Crash Course 4-Week Series
Fridays at 5:30pm CT, starting Feb 19
Learn about the human side of buildings with our chronological survey course. Each one-hour session includes live Q&A with hosts Alex or Amanda.
$60 for the whole series (plus bonus extras), or $20 for individual sessions.
P.S. “Innovations at the 1893 World’s Fair” is Fri, Jan 15, 7pm. Register now!

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