Archive for August, 2015

The Debate That Changed TV: Vidal v. Buckley In “Best Of Enemies”

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Television standards have come a long way since William F. Buckley shocked the nation when he said “goddamn” on ABC. It was a peculiar phrase that über Catholic Buckley, father of the modern conservative movement, apparently favored since he says it more than once in the documentary “Best of Enemies.”

And he never meant it more than when he cursed at Gore Vidal as the pair faced off for ten days in 1968 during ABC’s coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

People of a certain age will recall the tumultuous time and perhaps even the broadcasts. The GOP nominated Richard Nixon over Ronald Reagan in Miami, Democrats picked Hubert Humphrey over George McGovern, as police and protestors clashed in Mayor Daley’s Chicago.

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Milwaukee Stations Halt Live Shots After TV Journalist Shootings

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Milwaukee TV stations are cutting back and even eliminating live reports from the field in response to the shooting of a reporter, photojournalist and the person they were interviewing in Virginia Wednesday.

“Out of an abundance of caution we are not planning any discretionary live field reports from the field today,” WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) news director Janet Hundley wrote in a memo to the newsroom.

“If there is breaking news we will discuss our options,” she wrote.

“As always be mindful” and “come to us with any concerns.”

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Milwaukee Media Notes: Chase Cain Redux, “Live & Local” WKTI

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In my family we call this vacation weather.

And in fact we did take a few days off in a cloudy, cold Door County that was warmed considerably during a concert Monday by the Jayhawks, who turned in a solid performance like the road dogs they are.

We also rode bikes in Peninsula State Park.

And we saw “Ant Man” and “Mission Impossible” at the Skyway Drive-in theater (while @katflanigan snored) listening through the FM radio and the theater’s functioning Cylon-looking old school window speaker (which my automatic windows refused to accept.)

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Target Ad Captures the Joy of ‘Star Wars’

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Ask Don Draper.

Done well and with heart, advertising can can trigger a feeling in you.

Which is what the ad below promoting “Star Wars” merchandise did for me.

The ad’s sponsor is Target, though that is not apparent until the end.

It features vintage Super 8 and camcorder and newer digital video footage of “Star War” fans, young and old and over decades, expressing their affection for a film that was seminal to the youth of many.

Add to it the just out Entertainment Weekly fall movie season cover featuring the new “Star Wars” film, due Dec. 18, out and – in “Star Trek” parlance – resistance is futile.

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In Loach’s “Jimmy’s Hall” politics are thick as the Irish accents

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“Jimmy’s Hall,” about an Irish expat who returns from exile to his small village and reopens a community hall is an Irish “Footloose.”

“We just want to dance,” a girl tells the ex-pat who returns from America with a Victrola and jazz records. So why not put on a show?

Because the same “masters and pastors” who caused James Gralton to flee to Depression era America ten years earlier see all non-church related activities as a communist ploy.

The hall is not just home to music and dance, jig and swing, there is boxing, art, literature and politics.

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‘Diary Of A Teenage Girl’ A One Person Cautionary Tale

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The diary is a three act storytelling device in which a physical item containing secrets is discovered and creates conflict and crisis.

In “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” the item is the latest in 1976 technology: a cassette tape recorder. It belongs to the girl of the title and chronicles her affair with her mother’s thirtysomething boyfriend.

There is a long troubling history of teenage girl coming-of-age sexuality in film: the predatory “Lolita,” a terrifying “thirteen” and the upbeat “Juno” with Ellen Page who gets revenge on a pedophile in the visceral “Hard Candy.”

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Segel Excels As David Foster Wallace In “End Of The Tour’

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I can’t say if Jason Segel’s thoughtful and persuasive performance in “The End of the Tour,” as David Foster Wallace the troubled writer of “Infinite Jest,” is accurate.

But I can vouch for one authentic thing: the utilitarian, dependable silver grey Sony cassette tape recorder used by the reporter, played Jesse Eisenberg, to interview Wallace and into which the reporter whispers his observations.

Turns out the film about Wallace by James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now,” “Smashed”) is equally about the personal and professional baggage of the reporter. And it is a demonstration of how attempts to bond with a source can be acts of both seduction and betrayal.

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The Mystery Of WISN Morning Anchor Chase Cain

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cainScreenShot1 2015-08-19 at 12.30.11 PM

Whatever happened to Chase Cain?

A week ago the new WISN-TV (Channel 12) morning show co-anchor was tweeting up a storm about Gov. Walker, Nik Wallenda, gas prices, Whistling Straits and life in the 5th ward with his Twitter feed linked to WISN stories about those events.

On Aug. 4 Cain introduced a segment on the station’s 10 p.m. newscast called “Social Square,” the same name of a social media segment on ABC’s “Good Morning, America.”

This week he has become conspicuous by his absence.

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Things Heat Up At Art House As Anticipated Movies Open

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Turns out it’s a good week to be a movie lover.

As things slow down at the multiplex, things are heating up at the art house.

Watch the trailers below for three well regarded titles opening Friday at the Landmark Oriental and Downer Theaters.


“The End of the Tour” I don’t know if Jason Segel has managed to channel the personality of the late David Foster Wallace. But Segel gives a thoughtful and detailed performance as the troubled writer of the doorstop “Infinite Jest” on a book tour with a writer from Rolling Stone played by Jesse Eisenberg.

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WMYX Afternoon Jock Mason Replaces Kidd O’Shea Mornings

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WYMX -FM afternoon jock Mike Mason replaces Kidd O’Shea as morning show co-host with Elizabeth Kay, the station announced Monday.

O’Shea, a Milwaukee native, is leaving to become morning show social media director at WJLA-TV in Washington.

The station’s press release below is woefully short of details. WMYX is owned by Entercom.


Mike Mason joins Elizabeth Kay for the new “Mike & Elizabeth” morning show on 99.1 The Mix!

 Milwaukee, WI —Mike Mason joined Elizabeth Kay for the new “Mike & Elizabeth” morning show weekdays from 5am to 9am this morning on 99.1 The Mix.  Mike previously did afternoons for 99.1 The Mix.

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