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Friday Notebook

By admin Published: August 21, 2009

Last night I went to an Akron screening of "More Than a Game," the documentary about the St. Vincent-St. Mary HS basketball team that won the USA Today national title in 2003; about its coach, Dru Joyce II, and about the young men on that team, among them one LeBron James. Fine film, one that could easily have been six films, it has so many personal stories to tell. Today I talked with filmmaker Kris Belman, as well as James and Joyce; I expect to be writing stories from those conversations when we get closer to the movie's being in local theaters, on Oct. 2. But it made for a pretty fascinating early-morning.

Although I managed to write my DVD column after the interviews, my head is still kind of full from the talking. Still, there are some other topics worth noting here, such as some local screenings of the latest Ken Burns documentary, Frank Caliendo's new gig and "Fear Itself" news. See after the jump.

From the folks at Western Reserve Public Media:

Lovers of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the entire national park system can enjoy free events that celebrate new television productions by Western Reserve Public Media and PBS. They include a premiere of Generations: Cuyahoga Valley National Park and big-screen viewings of Ken Burns’ new six-part documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which premieres nationally on PBS in September.

Generations: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Wednesday, Sept. 23; doors open at 6 p.m.
Happy Days Lodge, 500 W. Streetsboro Road (S.R. 303), Peninsula
Enjoy a free sneak preview of the first full-length broadcast documentary about the 34-year-old Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Western Reserve Public Media production captures the park’s many facets through the voices of people from all walks of life. The story is told through a variety of methods, including archival video footage, recent interviews, oral histories and photographs and memorabilia provided by park visitors. Producer Duilio Mariola will answer audience questions after the presentation.

The event is free, but registration is required by calling Western Reserve Public Media at 1-800-554-4549 or 330-677-4549. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

On television, Generations: Cuyahoga Valley National Park will premiere on Western Reserve PBS on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., with encore presentations that evening at 11 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 10 p.m; Thursday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 4, at 9 p.m.

Big-Screen Viewings: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
Episode One: Dinner and a Movie
Sunday, Sept. 27, at 6:30 p.m.
Happy Days Lodge, 500 W. Streetsboro Road (S.R. 303), Peninsula
Come for dinner and stay to watch “The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890),” the first episode of renowned filmmaker Ken Burns’ PBS program The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The film will be shown on the big screen concurrent with the national TV premiere on PBS stations. Following the premiere, there will be an optional gathering around the campfire for people to share their national park stories.

Reservations are required in advance by calling Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association at 330-657-2009, ext. 103. Western Reserve PBS and Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association members pay $12.50 for adults and $3.50 for children ages 3-12. General admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children.

Episodes Two Through Six
Monday, Sept. 28 ,through Friday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Happy Days Lodge, 500 W. Streetsboro Road (S.R. 303), Peninsula
The documentary continues on the big screen with one episode airing each evening. The viewings are free and require no reservations. After each episode, there will be an optional gathering around the campfire for people to share their national park stories. On Friday, the program is followed by a short ranger-led hike along Haskell Run. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

Impressionist and part-time NE Ohio resident Frank Caliendo has a new gig. The info:

The impressions will come fast and the laughter even faster when comedian/impressionist Frank Caliendo becomes a permanent headliner on the Las Vegas Strip with his new show at Monte Carlo beginning Monday, Oct. 12. Caliendo and Monte Carlo have signed an exclusive 10-year agreement that will make Caliendo a hilarious fixture at the resort for the next decade.

Known by millions for his dead-on impressions of such celebrities as Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, John Madden, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Dr. Phil, Jay Leno and dozens more, as well as myriad of television appearances and live stage performances, Caliendo's new show will be a dynamic mix of high-energy comedy and fast-paced impressions enhanced by live music, video sketches and much more.

"I'm excited to call Monte Carlo my new home," said Caliendo. "This is Vegas, so this show is going to be bigger and have a higher production value than traditional stand up. I've got a live band, we'll have video segments and maybe even some guest appearances. It's going to have all of the excitement of a TV show but it will be live on-stage and no two shows will be exactly alike." ...

Tickets prices begin at $59, including tax and service fees. Performances are Monday-Tuesday and Friday-Saturday at 9:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Monte Carlo Box Office, by calling (702) 730-7160 or (877) 386-8224 and by visiting

Since I get notes every now and then asking about the horror anthology "Fear Itself," you should know that it will be on DVD on Sept. 15, and some unaired episodes will be online before then:

FEARNET, the world’s premier horror, thriller and suspense website and on-demand service, has captured the exclusive rights to air five previously unseen episodes of horror impresario Mick Garris’ suspense and horror anthology series "Fear Itself." The five episodes, which were not part of the show’s broadcast on NBC, will debut in HD - one each day - beginning September 2nd at and will become available shortly thereafter at FEARNET on Demand. In addition to being the exclusive destination for the full-length episodes, FEARNET will also unveil exclusive online and on demand content for the series. This will range from director intros and behind-the-scenes featurettes, to special shot-by-shot analyses of key scenes by the series' directors. ...

FEARNET will premiere the following episodes:

SPIRIT BOX (Wednesday, September 2nd)
On Halloween, two high school girls use a spirit box to do a séance, and find themselves in contact with a classmate who recently committed suicide. However, the information she gives them leads them to believe that the girl may have been murdered.
Starring Martin Donovan (“The Haunting in Connecticut”, “Insomnia”), Anna Kendrick (“Twilight”)
Directed by Rob Schmidt (“Wrong Turn”) and written by Joe Gangemi (“Wind Chill”).

ECHOES (Thursday, September 3rd)
After a guy is drawn to and moves into an apartment, he starts having weird flashes and moments of déjà vu, and comes to believe someone he was in a past life did something terrible.
Starring Aaron Stanford (“The Hills Have Eyes” remake), Eric Balfour (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake, “24”), Camille Guaty
Directed by Rupert Wainwright (“The Fog” remake, “Stigmata”) and written by Sean Hood (“Halloween: Resurrection”).

THE CIRCLE (Friday, September 4th)
On Halloween night, a horror novelist with writer's block is at his cabin with his wife, agent, publicist and editor, when a mysterious package arrives - a new story by him, only he hasn't written it. As the group reads the story, the events in the story start to come true.
Starring Johnathon Schaech (“Quarantine”, “Prom Night” remake), Ashley Scott, Victoria Pratt (“CSI”)
Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez and written by Richard Chizmar & Johnathon Schaech.

SOMETHING WITH BITE (Saturday, September 5th)
A lazy, overweight small-town vet finds his life is drastically changed, and much-improved, after he is bitten by a werewolf.
Starring Wendell Pierce (“The Wire”) and Paula Jai Parker (“Side Order of Life”, “The Proud Family”)
Directed by Ernest Dickerson (“Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight”, “Bones”) and written by Max Landis.

CHANCE (Sunday, September 6th)
A desperate young man, on the verge of financial ruin, murders an auction house dealer he believes has cheated him in a prior transaction. Shortly after, the man finds himself shadowed by a strange visitor who is revealed to be his exact double.
Starring Christine Chatelain (“Final Destination”), Ethan Embry (“Wes Craven Presents They”, “Can’t Hardly Wait”)
Directed by John Dahl (“Joy Ride” 2001, “True Blood”) and written by Lem Dobbs (“Dark City”).

All five episodes will be available for viewing on Labor Day, Monday, September 7th.

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