In the annals of American cinema, there have arisen many great actors and directors, leaving their mark on the silver screen with works that have continued to delight audiences for years. But one of the true greats is a man who not only acted and directed, but wrote his movies as well. I am speaking of the late, great Orson Welles.
Throughout the years of his life Welles made many great films, Citizen Kane, Magnificent Ambersons, and the list goes on and on. But one of his films that I believe is truly great came at a later point in his life. It has been hailed as one of the last great noir films of the genre, with a cast of amazing actors, a plot so compelling it keeps you in your seat and cinematography that is astounding to behold. I speak of the great crime thriller film Touch of Evil.
Touch of Evil has everything a person could want in a crime thriller film. Action, suspense, gorgeous leading ladies, a handsome leading man, and Orson Welles filling the role of a villain who is so obviously vile and wicked it isn’t even funny.
Two things stand out the most in this movie. One is the cast…and what a cast it is. Charlton Heston is leading man in this picture, with Janet Leigh in the role of leading lady. Filling in secondary roles are such stalwarts of the big screen as Akim Tamiroff, Joanna Cooke Moore, Ray Collins, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Marlene Dietrich and of course, Orson Welles.
The cinematography in the movie is the second thing that stands out. Wide angle shots, tight close ups and the use of shadows as a means of heightening tension in a scene that showcases Welles talents as a director and storyteller.
If ever there was a film that stood out in Orson Welles career as one of his later great achievements, it is truly Touch of Evil.
Listen to the Josh Winchester Show every Monday afternoon from 3 to 7pm only on WCRX-FM, Chicago’s Underground.
For years the proving ground of stand ups, improvisers and Saturday Night Live hopefuls, Chicago is an unparalleled place to take in a fart joke.
This city however, is afflicted with an age-old curse: Like a small town quarterback until he’s scouted by the NFL, as soon as the city’s’ performers start to hit their stride, they’re wooed away by sexy Vegas, New York, or L.A. – and these four are getting hit on harder than a foreign exchange student with a tinder account. The answer is simple Chicago. If you don’t want these talented people to skip town, GO SEE THEM!
So – as a public service mind you – I offer these humble suggestions for people you should not miss seeing unless gravely wounded. Your city is counting on you.
1. Adam Burke
Although not a Chicago native, Adam Burke has had no trouble fitting into Chicago’s dense and clicky comedy community and hasn’t compromised his style in the process. He’s not afraid to get political, even while explaining why political comedy “is dead.” He’s also smart. Here’s a clip of him standing up for dumbness at the comedy debate show Arguments and Grievances.
Later in the show he burst into song to expel the virtues of brainless-ness.
Without a doubt, Adam has one of the strongest voices in the city. He announced his plans to move to L.A. a few months ago and has been getting booked like crazy ever since. I suggest you check him out before it’s some other city doing the bragging.
2. Jamie Campbell
Jamie is a one man work horse of comedy. He does stand up, hosts the Talk Hard podcast, as well as open mics and showcases all over the city, and has pioneered original shows like “Spiked Punch” – a comedy competition in the vein of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Crossed with the nostalgic immaturity of the Nickelodeon Slime Bucket.
But good news for those who want a last peek, Jamie will be back in Chicago for a second season of “Spiked Punch” this summer.
3. Sean White
While official plans to leave Chicago haven’t been announced, I suspect Sean White is pulling a Hilary Clinton. If the last few months have been any indication, the announcement is bound to be coming soon. He recently recorded his debut album “Dead & Gone” which is one of the most impressive debuts I’ve EVER heard. Dealing primarily with death and divorce, the album covers Sean’s experiences losing multiple members of his family while also separating from his wife, which despite sounding incredibly depressing, in Sean’s hands is one of the most hilarious and original hours of comedy in a long time.
Dead & Gone releases May 12th and you can pre-order a copy here. Easily one of the best writers in the city, make sure you see this guy while you still can.
4. Ian Abramson
– Okay, so Ian’s already gone. But he’s coming back. The man of hand made Sharpy mustaches, hilarious wordplay and just unparalleled “Abramsonn-ess” will be in Chicago May 28th. If you haven’t had a chance to experience what that means, I’ll try my best to put it into perspective: Ian wouldn’t be out-of-place in an Adult Swim cartoon or as a sexier version of your weird uncle. Shortly before leaving Chicago he even held a wedding and got married to his career.
On May 28th, Ian will be back in Chicago for a one-off production of his brain child “7 Minutes In Purgatory” at the onion A.V. Club.
“Purgatory” is a one of a kind show where comics perform their material in a sound proof booth completely isolated from the audience’s reactions. It’s weird, uncomfortable and totally hilarious. If you missed it while it was still Chicago’s darling, do yourself a favor and get in on the fun.
Mark this one on your calendars! Pre-sale tickets are already sold out but you can still get some at the door.
Tune in to Backstage Chatter Wednesday’s @ 8pm on WCRX 88.1FM and learn how to be the change you want to see – in your comedy scene