Category Archives: Ephemera

My Coronaviral Curriculum, Not Necessarily in Any Order

Series I’ve Watched Since Quarantine Began:

  • The Roosevelts: An Intimate History/PBS (in process)
  • Last Week Tonight/HBO (ongoing)
  • The Last Dance/ESPN
  • Westworld/HBO-Season 3 (in process)
  • Love is Blind-Season 1//Netflix
  • Euphoria-Season 1/HBO
  • Narcos: Mexico-Season 2/Netflix 
  • Silicon Valley/HBO-Season 6
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm/HBO-Season 10
  • Hillary/Hulu
  • Divorce/HBO-Season 3
  • Big Little Lies/HBO-Season 2
  • Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist/Hulu-NBC-Season 1-2
  • Run-Season 1/HBO
  • Ramy-Seasons 1-2/Hulu
  • The Deuce-Season 3/HBO
  • Mrs. America/Hulu 
  • We’re Here/HBO (in process)
  • America to Me/Hulu (in process)
  • The Man in the High Castle-Season 1-2/Amazon (in process)
  • Normal People/Hulu 
  • Killing Eve-Seasons 1-2/Hulu
  • The Imagineering Story/Disney Plus (in process)
  • Succession-Season 1-2/HBO Max 
  • Watchmen/HBO Max
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark/HBO Max
  • Insecure-Seasons 1-4/HBO Max
  • Schitt’s Creek-Season 1-6/IMDB-TV
  • City So Real/National Geographic
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion/HBO Max
  • Industry/HBO Max (in process)
  • I Hate Suzie/HBO Max
  • Dream of Italy-Season 1 (in process)/Amazon
  • The Flight Attendant/HBO Max
  • How To with John Wilson/HBO Max
  • Love Life/HBO Max
  • The Mandalorian -Season 1 (in process)/Disney Plus
  • WandaVision/Disney Plus
  • This Is Us-Season 5/NBC
  • Allen v. Farrow/HBO Max


Movies I’ve Watched Since Quarantine Began

* means I’ve already seen it before

  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor/HBO
  • Panic in the Streets/DVD
  • Moon Over Miami/DVD
  • Saboteur/Blu-Ray
  • Shadow of a Doubt/Blu-Ray
  • Chocolat/DVD*
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco/Amazon Prime
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always/Amazon Premium
  • Icarus/Netflix
  • Sophie’s Choice/HBO
  • Juliet, Naked/Hulu
  • Transit (2018)/Amazon Prime
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)/Blu-Ray*
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire/Hulu
  • Ema/Mubi
  • All About Eve/Amazon*
  • Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind/HBO
  • 306 Hollywood/Amazon 
  • The Man With the Golden Arm/MUBI
  • The Southerner/MUBI
  • Downton Abbey/HBO
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)/DVD
  • On the Record/HBO Max
  • Gloria: In Her Own Words/HBO
  • Rope/Blu-Ray*
  • Rear Window/Blu-Ray*
  • Uncut Gems/Netflix
  • Da 5 Bloods/Netflix
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind/Blu-Ray*
  • Palm Springs/Hulu
  • Every Little Step/Amazon
  • Once Were Brothers/Hulu
  • North by Northwest/Blu-Ray*
  • The Last Waltz/DVD
  • Knives Out/Hulu
  • The Assistant/Hulu
  • By Sidney Lumet/Amazon Prime
  • I Am Not Your Negro/Amazon Prime
  • Malcolm X/Blu-ray
  • At the Drive-In/Amazon Prime
  • Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins/Hulu
  • The Hero/Amazon Prime
  • La Dolce Vita/Blu-Ray
  • Long Gone Summer/ESPN Plus
  • I Used to Go Here/ChiTown Movies Drive-in
  • Judy/Blu-ray
  • Tenet/Showplace Icon
  • Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine/Music Box Virtual Cinema
  • The Late Shift/Showplace Icon
  • Time/Amazon Prime
  • The Trial of the Chicago Seven/Netflix
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm/Amazon
  • Other Music/Amazon
  • The Booksellers/Amazon
  • The Sunlit Night/Hulu
  • Borg vs. McEnroe/Hulu
  • A Very Charming Christmas Town/Lifetime
  • Christmas A La Mode/Lifetime
  • Feliz NaviDAD/Lifetime
  • First Cow/Showtime
  • Laura/DVD
  • Let Them All Talk/HBO Max
  • Nashville/Blu-Ray
  • All That Heaven Allows/Blu-Ray
  • Why Must I Die?/Blu-Ray
  • Mangrove/Small Axe/Amazon
  • Lovers Rock/Small Axe/Amazon
  • Wonder Woman 1984/HBO Max
  • Red, White and Blue/Small Axe/Amazon
  • The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart/HBO Max
  • Black Art: In the Absence of Light/HBO Max
  • BUtterfield 8/HBO Max
  • Nomadland/Hulu
  • Little Things/HBO Max
  • One Night in Miami/Amazon
  • The United States vs. Billie Holliday/Hulu
  • Judas and the Black Messiah/HBO Max
  • Sound of Metal/Amazon
  • Minari/Showplace Icon


Books I’ve Read Since Quarantine Began

  • Woodcutters/Thomas Bernhard
  • Severance/Ling Ma
  • The River at Night/Kevin Huizenga
  • Fake Love Letters, Forged Telegrams, and Prison Escape Maps: Designing Graphic Props for Filmmaking/Annie Atkins
  • The Modern Magazine: Visual Journalism in the Digital Era/Jeremy Leslie
  • The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist/Adrian Tomine
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less/Greg McKeown
  • City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago/Gary Krist
  • Once I Was Cool/Megan Stielstra
  • In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing/Walter Murch
  • American Rose-A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee/Karen Abbott
  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich/Timothy Ferriss
  • The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company/Robert Iger
  • Paul at Home/Michel Rabagliati
  • King-Cat Classic/John Porcellino
  • Map of My Heart/John Porcellino
  • Perfect Example/John Porcellino
  • Mental Traveler: A Father, A Son, and a Journey Through Schizophrenia/W.J.T. Mitchell
  • The Book Tour/Andi Watson
  • Bookstores/Horst A. Friedrichs and Stuart Husband
  • The Talented Miss Farwell/Emily Gray Tedrowe

One Year into History

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like the fine people of Massachusetts have, perhaps unwittingly, dishonored the legacy of their late long-serving Senator Ted Kennedy in a manner worse than if they’d dug up his grave and paraded his skull around Faneuil Hall on a pole? If there was one cause his entire career stood for, it was health-care reform, and if there was one way to honor him, it was to enact this first bit of progressive legislation in a generation. Instead, he had the audacity to die in office, and to punish him, his voters turned against him and made his death, in irony most cruel, the thing that might just prevent the enactment of that which he valued most of all.

Is it just me, or is it specious reasoning to infer that the Massachusetts voters who, in effect, voted against health-care reform in this election are thus against the principle of universal health care? Is it at all possible that, since they already have universal health care and are paying for it with their state tax dollars, that they just did not want to incur the cost of getting a redundant program?

Is it just me, or should Boston take back its Tea Party soon? Can someone to the left of center please spend a minute or two studying the semantics of shameless propaganda, American Revolution chapter? Continue reading

Bush Admin to Bicyclists: You're a Waste

It’s hard sometimes to remain skeptical about the “conspiracy theorists” who connect all of the Bush Administrations actions in the Middle East to oil, when the president’s cabinet members go on record saying things so incomprehensibly uninformed as Transportation Secretary Mary Peters’ recent comments that bicycle paths were an example of Congressional waste, because bicycles are not a transportation use of the gas tax money.

Time to Give the Lady What She Wants?

I take little consolation in the seeming vindication of my position on the re-branding of Marshall Fields’s as Macy’s represented in the ongoing performance challenges of “Macy’s North. ” Nor am I surprised: shopping is both functional and emotional, and Chicagoans have a huge emotional connection to the Field’s brand, and very little to Macy’s. If Macy’s had entered the market in another manner, say by rebranding Lord & Taylor or as a standalone, I have little doubt that they would have been greeted by anything other than open arms. But in taking away something intrinsically Chicago from Chicago, they created powerful negative emotional responses, and I expect those wounds might heal more slowly than Wall Street’s unforgiving nature will allow.

John's Gone Back to Cincinnati

I just watched the season and, it turns out, series finale of HBO’s latest Milchsterpiece, “John From Cincinnati.” I was baffled by the show, yet drawn to it, for its cast of cosmic cornballs, for its intricate language, with a mix of Mamet-like rhythm and Shakespearean constructions. And it teased like no other series, setting out its enigmatic premise early, just accessible enough to bring you back to learn more, only to find yourself increasingly baffled with each episode. Exposition obscured, not clarified. But as I watched the last episode, I found myself in search of “the explanation,” the layers of meaning, references and other devices surely present for those who studied it, who conversed about it, more diligently than I had. Memories of my once-obsessive fascination with “Twin Peaks” floated by, but I hate to say that I found that David’s work (at least season one) far more accessible than this David’s work. I still seek that understanding. My brief search found this rather heated discussion.

Clearly the show was polarizing. Unfortunately, the staunchest defenders did not decode, but simply seemed drunk on the Kool-Aid, accusing the detractors of “not getting it,” without explaining what they did not get. You don’t see the emperor’s new clothes? In the end, I was a frustrated fan, one who could not resist the characters, the language and the weekly trainwreck. And I’m still looking for answers.