General Falderol

Joy is on tap at the Independence Tap!

FRIDAY, April 12 at 7 PM

Independence Tap

3932 W Irving Park Rd

Stann Champion and I have revived the “Everything Goes” Open Stage we used to do at The Roots Room.

Now at the fabulous Independence Tap and under the moniker FretKnot Fridays.

The Venue & Name Have Changed, But The Song Remains The Same:

Great Poets, Storytellers, Musicians, Comics, And All & Sundry Forms Of Performer Shall Be In Evidence.

Come And Enjoy Them — Or Better Yet Sign Up To Be One Of Them!

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When Stann and I host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

Hello Earth:


Been letting this site lie fallow for a while, but it is time to pick up the thread again. To recap:

Got back into Chicago in mid-September of last year after the European Adventure ran its course (just ran out of money before I could find a way to make any) with nary a cent to my name.

Immediately picked up two “regular” jobs and worked like a dog all winter to get flush again.

Am now back in the swing of things creatively. I’m still hosting my monthly Hootenannies, but am also in two bands and looking to get some other schemes off the ground.

More to come…



Time For The June Hootenanny!!!

Bring A Live Performance* & A Dish To Pass!!!

FRIDAY, June 12 at 8 PM

The Roots Room, 5203 N. Kimball

 One Of The Last Chances To See Me Perform Before I Flee The Country!

I’ll Be Bringing My Internationally Acclaimed Hummus. Feel Free To Bring Whatever Tasty Treat You Wish.

*This Hootenanny Will Have The Theme Of DREAMS:

Dreams Literal & Figurative, The Dream World, Sleep & Wakefulness, All Meanings And Connotations Encouraged.

(But Don’t Fret If Your Performance Doesn’t Conform To The Theme)




Time To Let It Out!!!



I’m Hosting The Next Open Mic/Variety Night At The RootsRoom!!!

FRIDAY, June 12 at 8 PM

The Roots Room is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When I host Open Stages I create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

My greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

The Roots Room is BYOB & All Ages.
$10 Suggested Donation (or pay what you can).

I was tagged into this game on a certain social media network and thought it would be edifying to the public to redo it (with some bells and whistles) on my blog.

The rules were: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen films you’ve seen that will always stick with you- not necessarily the best films. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

I obviously took more time than that on this post, but the list itself came to me in a few minutes. It’s uncanny how the ones you just think of turn out to be influential in other ways, especially to someone whose upbringing was as odd as mine.

Here Are My Fifteen, Roughly In The Order I Saw Them:


1. Night Of The Iguana: Stayed up to see it on TV when I was five because the voice over made me think it was about giant lizards attacking people. Or something with scary monsters. Here is a longer version of the trailer they showed that grabbed my attention:


Turned out to be much scarier of a premise to a five year old but I was riveted through the whole thing.

2. Ring Of Bright Water: Not very memorable except it was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. In fact, I had to Google for the title because all I could remember was that it was about a guy who has an otter named Mij.



3. 3 Days Of The Condor: Robert Redford’s character in this movie became a lifelong role model. He’s able to thwart the entire CIA because of things he learned reading books. I was already on that path but I wanted even more to be that guy whose depth and breadth of knowledge struck fear into The Man. Best exchange between CIA wonks: “He Reads!” “So what?” “No, you don’t get it. HE READS EVERYTHING!!!”



4. Jaws: Saw it in the theater and was scared when swimming in my boyhood Wisconsin lake for the next two years.


5- Love And Death– Saw it in the theater with my parents at age thirteen and was so proud that I got all the jokes.



6- The Godfather: What can you say?


7- Blue Velvet: Saw it by myself in an empty theater in the middle of the afternoon and was almost traumatized by it. It was so raw and so far beyond anything I had ever seen.


8- Stop Making Sense: Cried after seeing it because it seemed so beautiful and perfect and I felt like I could never create anything (film, music, novel, etc) so powerful and moving. Then that evening I did a standup comedy set with my parents in the audience (seeing me for the first time) and I killed. I felt like it was the power of the Talking Heads that gave me strength to fight the butterflies and also that perhaps someday I could contribute something worthwhile to the World Of Ideas.



9- Wings Of Desire: In 1987 I was crashing on some friends’ couch in Chicago every weekend and auditioning/performing at comedy clubs with an eye to moving down here. One of the friends was a film major and we watched this one afternoon. It introduced me to the films of Wim Wenders and the music of Nick Cave- and gave me a HUGE crush on Solveig Dommartin.



10- Matewan: One of my favorite dramatic films. The sequence that cuts between the boy preacher and Chris Cooper & James Earl Jones talking is one of the best in all of Filmdom. And this scene here isn’t so bad either.



11. Shakes The Clown: Bob Goldthwait’s saga of a misanthropic alcoholic birthday party clown is still one of the craziest and most twisted films ever. Where else you going to see Aunt Esther from Sanford & Son talk about her punani? And Tim Kazurinsky is hilarious in his cameo, too bad the clip cuts off before his brilliant response.



12. Rikky And Pete: A delightfully quirky Aussie Indie comedy with a score by Crowded House.



13. Pow Wow Highway: Great Native American road comedy. Just see it!



14- Sans Soleil: Chris Marker’s video essay totally changed my ideas of what a documentary film could be.



15- You Me And Everyone We Know: Miranda July created one of the most bizarre yet most strangely realistic indie films ever. It’s a meditation on how amazing it is that (considering how insane and damaged we are) humans are able to connect with each other in way at all.  I couldn’t stop crying for 20 solid minutes after watching this, for reasons I still can’t quite understand. Then I wrote a heartfelt email to Miranda July at 3AM. She never responded, but from her end it probably seemed much more crazy and stalker-ish than heartfelt.



So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed this long trip through the underpinnings of my psyche!




In a fit a pique right before the last Superbowl I sent a tweet to my followers (and copied the NFL on it) that if the NFL was still a tax exempt organization by the beginning of the next season then the Superbowl would be the last NFL game I would ever watch. At the time I knew that meant I would never be watching an NFL game again (if I held to my guns) because there was no way in hell they would voluntarily give up that status and for some reason nobody seems to be bothered by the fact that an organization that makes BILLIONS of dollars doesn’t pay a fucking cent in taxes.

After spending the last few weeks thinking about “walking back” my bold declaration (the season approaches and I do still have a primal love of American Football going back to infancy)- my mental pendulum began to swing the other way.

I’ve always been bothered by how much Sports in general (and the NFL in particular) are used to sell the lies of Hetero-normative Consumer Capitalism and the Military Industrial Complex [sounds like real GooGoo Lefty statement when I say it like that- but can you honestly say that it’s not an accurate one?] and how much the various Sports Subcultures have become bastions of ignorance and bigotry of all sorts.

Getting back to the NFL: this ongoing idiocy and continued resistance to changing the name of the Washington franchise has also bolstered my decision to drop my American Football habit. There several other sketchy/unethical things about the league l could list as well; but the recent incident where an NFL player beat his fiance unconscious in a public place and RECEIVED A 2 GAME SUSPENSION for his punishment is the last fucking straw.

Therefore, I will hold to my statements of last January and will not be watching any NFL games this season, even my beloved Green Bay Packers [might as well “come out” about that as well since I’m being all bold & shit! ]. I’m not going to avert my eyes if I’m in a public place and a game is on (I know that gives me a huge out but I’m not wearing blinders when I go drinking) but I will no longer willingly consume the product of the National Football Association until I can not feel like watching a game makes me Part Of The Problem.

The thought of doing this also makes me really uneasy, so that’s another indication that this is something I need to do.

In its purest form Organized Athletic Activity can be one of the most beautiful experiences a person (especially a young one) can engage in. It’s time to stop supporting those who use its inherent power to make untaxed fortunes, bolster the lies of those who are enslaving humanity and promoting the destruction of our species, and indoctrinate young men into a destructive cult of masculinity.

/stepping off soapbox


UPDATE:The NFL increased their penalties for assault to make it a harder slap on the wrist for a first offense and a possible lifetime ban for a second (just make sure there is video if you are cold-cocked by a player) , but there are still too many other issues they have to address before I’ll return to the fold.


UPDATE #2 (9/11/14): The same day I was having a moment of weakness and was considering letting the slightly enhanced penalties for assault allow me to just watch Packer games— the Ray Rice elevator video was leaked. Now I knew what was going to be on that video so I was not surprised (how did people think she became completely unconscious- he rubbed her belly like an alligator to put her to sleep?) but the immensely disingenuous and hypocritical response from the NFL (you have a world class security and investigative team and nobody saw or thought to ask for the elevator video?- PUHLEEZE!!!) and the sports media (just C’MON!) has furthered my resolve in this matter. Concussions, the Washington Mascot fiasco, Domestic Violence, Non-Taxed Status, etc etc etc—- It’s just all too damn much…


This Is What I’ll Be Watching On ESPN 7…

In another incredibly huge honor, Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition has been selected to be one the books included in the 2014 Illinois Reads Program!

Illinois Reads is a statewide program to promote reading amongst all Illinois citizens. It is under the auspices of  the  Illinois Reading Council and in conjunction with the Illinois State Library, State Librarian and Honorary Chair Jesse White (whose Secretary Of State Office funds the literacy effort under which I volunteer tutor).



I can’t begin to state how excited I am by this development. As a volunteer ESL/ABE tutor, Universal Literacy is a cause near and dear to me, so this is an especially heartfelt honor. It is also wonderful for the book itself, which I had hoped would become a textbook of sorts, and this definitely puts it well on the way to that status.

Many thanks to The Illinois Reading Council, my co-author Arnie Bernstein, my publisher Chicago Review Press, the State Library and Librarian, and anyone else who had a hand in the section process. I’m greatly looking forward to the festivities and kickoff ceremony on Wednesday, March 12 down in Springfield!





I am extremely honored to announce that I am speaking at Chicago Book Expo. It is a major gathering of Chicago Writers and Independent Publishers and I can’t begin to describe how pleased I am to be a part of it.


Chicago Book Expo

Sunday, November 24

St Augustine College, 1345 W Argyle.

 The event starts at 11AM and I’ll be presenting from 2:30-3:30


It will be such a kick to do my HOLM 2 presentation in the old Essanay Studio Buildings- which were the site of one of the first movie studios on earth. And to be in the company of such fine authors and publishers makes it an even bigger thrill.

You really ought to stop on by because I will be in Full Expounding Mode!!!

Arnie Bernstein will be there as well talking about his fantastic new book, Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German American Bund.



Here is an interview I did for the Outside The Loop radio show on WLUW.
I come on right after the first break:

Click here for the show.

I will be giving my Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition Slide Presentation and selling/signing books:

Thursday, October 24 at The Mather’s More Than A Cafe, 7134 W Higgins Ave. 1:00 p.m.

HOLM 2 Book Cover

Hollywood on Lake Michigan,2nd Edition Live!
Michael Corcoran, Historian/Author

In the early history of films, one out of every five motion pictures was made right here in Chicago! Michael discusses early film history in Chicago and entertains us with stories about more recent Chicago films and locations; descriptions of some great, yet unknown, Chicago films; profiles of people he interviewed for his book; and hilarious stories about his efforts to update Arnie Bernstein’s beloved Chicago classic, Hollywood on Lake Michigan.
Suggested Donation $8


This picture of the aftermath of the Car vs Train collision in the movie Running Scared (1986) is just one of the many behind the scenes photos I will be showing and discussing. (Photo courtesy of Bob Janz)

Stop on by if you can, it shall be a fun and frolicking time. Where else are you going to see a picture of Gary Coleman in a bright chartreuse body stocking?

The World Premiere of my Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition Lecture!!!

Saturday, October 5        4PM

I am appearing in Lisle this coming Saturday, October 5 at 4PM at The Lisle Depot Baggage Room (921 School St.) as part of The History Author Series of The Museums At Lisle Station Park. I will be holding forth about the History and Present of Chicago Film and telling stories of my herculean struggle to update Arnie Bernstein’s beloved Chicago classic.  I will also be selling (cash only) and signing copies afterwards.

It’s going to be a very fun afternoon, so stop on by!!!




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