Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!
Among the notable folk that Connie has interviewed (partial list) are: David Morrell (3 times), William F. Nolan, Kurt Vonnegut, jr.; Joe Hill; Frederik Pohl; Anne Perry; Valerie Plame; Vanessa Redgrave; Michael Shannon;; Taylor Hackford; Jon Land and Liv Ullman. The interview subjects might be from the world of Hollywood or simply be much-read authors, but her interviews have run in newspapers for 61 years.
The Weekly Wilson program of 9/24 was a pot-pourri of my favorite topics: politics, movies, books and random facts.
I did announce the FREE give-away that will coincide with the debate dates. Consider it your reward for being a good citizen and sitting through the 4 debate nights: 9/29; 10/7; 10/15; 10/22 and 10/23.
What is being given away?
The book BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE, via Amazon, will be totally FREE as an e-book on the debate nights, but only on those 5 days.
We are allowed 5 more “free” nights with BEE GONE in e-book format, so we added one additional free night following the final debate. That will be October 23rd, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
So, the debate nights, again are: September 29, Tuesday (FREE E-BOOK NIGHTS)
October 7, Wednesday (VP debate)
October 15, Thursday
October 22, Thursday
October 23, Friday (RBG Night)
If you have interest in owning a comic-book like award-winning e-book that is a stroll down memory lane regarding the events of 2016, you can order BEE GONE: A POLITICAL PARABLE free of charge on those nights. We also put the paperback price down 50% and have reduced the e-book price during this run-up to the election.
“UNFIT” DIRECTOR on OCTOBER 15th
On October 15th, I will speak with Dan Partland, director of the Netflix documentary “Unfit” as my guest on Weekly Wilson, the podcast (Thursdays at 7 p.m.). This was the #1 rental on Netflix this month and I highly recommend it.
DISCUSSIONS WITH MICHAEL SERRAPICA on Weekly Wilson Podcast
Those of you who have listened in to discussions with Michael Serrapica, author of “Conned Conservatives and Led-On Liberals” will be happy to learn that he is probably going to be discussing each of the debates with me, as they occur.
The discussion dates to talk about the debate(s) just past will be:
October 1st, Thursday – Discussion of Debate #1
October 8, Thursday – Discussion of the VP debate
October 15, Thursday – DAN PARTLAND of “Unfit”
October 22, Thursday – Discussion of the 2nd presidential debate of October 15
October 29th, Thursday – Discussion of the final (3rd) presidential debate of October 22nd
Sergio Rizzuto as The Pardoner in “Hard Kill,” opening 8/25.
I passed the halfway point in podcasting tonight, with the 27th show in a year-long commitment on the Bold Brave Media Global Network. The show is entitled Weekly Wilson, just like my blog, and, aside from not being able to do a show after the derechco of August 10th knocked out my Internet and our power, things have run fairly smoothly…..until tonight.
My sincerest apologies to guest Sergio Razzuto, who was a trooper in soldiering through the several times we were knocked off the air by “technical difficulties.” Said Perry, the engineer, ‘Don’t let the listeners know.” Uh…..do you think the several minutes of dead air might be a give-away? I will say that this was the very first time we’ve actually been knocked off the air while the show was in progress.
The show uses Skype and, for some reason, we were hung out to dry at least twice.
It was truly a rough evening on the air waves. I’m sure poor Sergio felt the same way!
The topics we covered were interesting. Sergio—who is related distantly to famous baseball player Phil Razzuto—was an interesting, articulate guest, who has credits as actor (17), producer (22), director (2), writer (2), cinematographer (1) and music (1). He has been acting since 2017, beginning with a small role on the TV series “Billions.”
There were also technical glitches with the sound quality that we traced to the speaker phone on Sergio’s cell phone, which we were able to address once we got on the air and stayed on the air.
Sergio Rizzuto, co-star of “Hard Kill.”
A true Renaissance man, Sergio shared that he possesses a restless creative spirit. He was awarded the ICE Award by Villanova for his interesting business ideas. He has also had a café in Brick, NJ (now closed); Fit Society with 1.5 million followers; E-MC Clothing, Buyu—an app described as a cross between Amazon and Craigslist, a clothing line with a Neil DeGrasse Tyson tie-in, and interest in all facets of the film-making process. Next up for Sergio is the starring role in a movie based on the real-life UFC welterweight fighter Josh Sammon who died, tragically, at age 28. On a completely different topic, Sergio has the ability to master a Rubik’s cube in something like 27 seconds. (Yes, it was in the movie).
Sergio played The Pardoner in the new Bruce Willis/Jesse Metcalfe movie “Hard Kill.” My thanks to him for slogging through the technical issues with me Thursday night. If, after reading my review here, you are interested in seeing a Bruce Willis popcorn movie, it is available on Amazon Prime and elsewhere.
Thursday night’s Weekly Wilson podcast (7 to 8 p.m. on the Bold Brave Media Global Network) will feature aspiring director Jonathan Baker, whose film “Inconceivable,” featuring Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon and Faye Dunaway, was released by Lionsgate and was the director’s first feature length film.
Jonathan had director Neal Thibedeau follow him as he contacted a variety of famous directors around and asked them to share their experiences shooting their very first film(s). Among those featured prominently in the documentary entitled “Becoming Iconic” are Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “The Idolmaker”), John Badham (“Saturday Night Fever”), Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction,” “Jacob’s Ladder”), Jodie Foster (“Little Man Tate”) and comments attributed to Warren Beatty, Ridley Scott and others. (See William Friedkin of “The Exorcist” pictured, below).
I had the pleasure of speaking at some length with Taylor Hackford the year that the Chicago International Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was supposed to be a “group interview” with a number of film students from Columbia College in Chicago present, but I got the call to come and participate and it seemed, to me, that it was a good thing that there was at least one adult in the room who had been following Taylor Hackford’s career all the way back to “The Idolmaker” with Ray Sharkey breaking out in the role (a very young Peter Gallagher played the idol), because the twenty-something students only asked Hackford about “Ray.” They asked him about “Ray” with Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles over and over and over, but his career is about
so much more than just that film. However, I seriously doubt if the rest of those present had seen all of The Big Ones, as I had. Hackford, who, in real life, is married to consummate actress Helen Mirren, was a a very articulate and willing participant in the “group interview” and, at its conclusion, I felt that it had almost been one-on-one, since I was the only one who followed up with questions about the relationship between Richard Gere and his leading lady in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” for example.
Director Richard Linklater (“Dazed & Confused,” “Boyhood”) at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards on March 7, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Connie Wilson).
I saw the same friendly, gracious individual onscreen as I had met during that group interview, and, as a long-time movie buff, I liked the documentary “Becoming Iconic” very much.
It reminded me of another I attended at the Music Box in Chicago which was a full-length film focused on Brian DePalma’s movies.
Tune in on Thursday, September 3rd to hear Jonathan Baker and I talk about his career and don’t forget that this is a “live” show and you can call in at 866-451-1451.
New York Times Best-selling author Jon Land will be my guest on Weekly Wilson podcast this coming Thursday, Aug. 20th, at 7 p.m.CDT on the Bold Brave Media Global Network and Tune-In Radio.
New York Times Best-selling author Jon Land has a new offering in his Caitlin Strong series. The new book, eleventh in the series involving a courageous female Texas Ranger, is entitled “Strong from the Heart.”
Here is what Amazon says about the book, available as an e-book for $14.99 and as a hardcover for $21.80:
Caitlin Strong wages her own personal war on drugs against the true power behind the illicit opioid trade in Strong from the Heart, the blistering and relentless 11th installment in Jon Land’s award-winning series.
The drug crisis hits home for fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong when the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies from an opioid overdose.
On top of that, she’s dealing with the inexplicable tragedy of a small Texas town where all the residents died in a single night.
When Caitlin realizes that these two pursuits are intrinsically connected, she finds herself following a trail that will take her to the truth behind the crisis that claimed 75,000 lives last year. Just in time, since the same force that has taken over the opiate trade has even more deadly intentions in mind, specifically the murder of tens of millions in pursuit of their even more nefarious goals.
The power base she’s up against—comprised of politicians and Big Pharma, along with corrupt doctors and drug distributors—has successfully beaten back all threats in the past. But they’ve never had to deal with the likes of Caitlin Strong before and have no idea what’s in store when the guns of Texas come calling.
At the root of the conspiracy lies a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed. Caitlin and Cort Wesley may have finally met their match, finding themselves isolated and ostracized with nowhere to turn, even as they strive to remain strong from the heart.
I’ve read and reviewed two previous Caitlin Strong books: “Strong Vengeance” and “Strong to the Bone.” This is the best of the lot.
His books include the Caitlin Strong novels about a fifth-generation Texas ranger, and the Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea books, about a Palestinian detective and chief inspector of the Israeli police.
He is an emeritus board member and currently sits on the marketing committee for the International Thriller Writers. Jon was also the screenwriter for 2005’s “Dirty Deeds” film, which starred Milo Ventimiglio, with Zoe Saldana and Charles Durning in the cast.
Tori Eldridge is the Anthony and Lefty Awards-nominated author of The Ninja Daughter, which was named one of the Best Mystery Books of the Year by the South Florida Sun Sentinel and awarded 2019 Thriller Book of the Year by Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. Her short stories appear in several anthologies and her screenplay “The Gift” earned a semi-finalist spot in the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowship.
Before writing, Tori performed as an actress, singer, dancer on Broadway, television and film. She is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Norwegian descent and was born and raised in Honolulu, where she graduated from Punahou School with classmate Barack Obama.
Tori holds a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin-Do ninjustsu and has traveled the U.S. teaching seminars on the ninja arts, weapons, and women’s self-preservation.
Her second book in the Lily Wong series, “The Ninja’s Blade,” will be released September 1, 2020.
Join Tori and I as we discuss her books, her life, her trips to Shanghai, and her goals for the future on Thursday, July 16, from 7 to 8 (CDT), 5 p.m. from California for Tori.
Heather Graham Pozzessere will join me in roughly 4 hours on the podcast “Weekly Wilson” and we will all find out how a woman with 5 children can possibly write hundreds of novels in her spare time.
Heather has been turning out a prodigious amount of work since the 1980s, having retired from her previous jobs as a bartender and working as a back-up singer and in theater. (Heather has a degree in theater from the University of South Florida). We will possibly talk about the uptick in cases of the coronavirus in her fair state (over 3,000 new cases) and the news that the upcoming Republican National Convention is supposedly moving to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Heather has won several prestigious awards. In 2003, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Romance Writers of America. She has also been awarded the Thriller Writer’s Silver Bullet for charitable enterprises. Heather also belongs to a number of Writers’ associations, notably among them the Horrors Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America.
Krewe of Hunters: This series is a beautiful blend of romance and mystery. Key characters in the series are Jackson Crow and Angela Hawkins. Jackson is dogged by the death of two of his teammates. Angela on the other hand is an investigations officer who is endowed with paranormal abilities. She already has her hands full of mysteries to solve when another extremely intriguing death occurs, and she cannot resist the temptation to try and solve it. A senator’s wife is found dead, with all the evidence pointing to the fact that she jumped over a balcony. However, developments in the story make it probable that she was pushed over the balcony. Or is it the ghosts that inhibit this house that was once a torture house that lure the lady to jumping over the balcony? Angela and Jackson try to solve this mystery and in the midst of it all, they find themselves falling deeply in love. They are constantly risking not just their lives, but their immortal souls as well.
I’ve just finished reading “Seeing Darkness” so that novel, more than others, will be up for discussion, but we’ll also talk about when she writes, how she writes, how her writing or promoting might change in this time of the coronavirus and many other topics, including the aforementioned family members.
Should be fun! Tune in on the Bold Brave Media Global Network or Tune-In Radio at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Channel 100. I’ve had family members tell me that the channel kept waivering between 100 and 200. No idea about that. If you have a question, the call in number is 866-451-1451 and be prepared to hold for a rather long time to get in. (We love questions, but the commercial breaks’ ll kill you.) If you miss the program totally, you can go out to WeeklyWilson.com and find a button to replay the program, minus commercials, but it usually takes about 3 days for it to go up, so look for it by the first of the week at the earliest.
Spike O’Dell, former WGN and Quad City native and radio personality, was the guest on the hour-long podcast Weekly Wilson on Thursday, June 11th, from 7 to 8 p.m.
The hour-long podcast is carried by the Bold Brave Media Global Network and Tune-In Radio, Channel 100. [While the site says it is on at 8 p.m., that is Eastern Time and the “live” call-in format airs from 7 to 8 p.m., our time]. The taped shows are later posted on WeeklyWilson.com for listeners who missed the original airing.
Spike O’Dell, whose father was East Moline’s Chief of Police, began his career in radio at WEMO-AM in East Moline in 1976, moving on to a part-time job at WQUA-AM (now WXFN Sports) and, in 1978, KSTT-AM, where he dubbed the street outside KSTT’s studio “Twinkie Boulevard.”
Spike ruled the Quad City airwaves until 1987, with a brief stint at WBT-AM in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In July of 1987 Chicago’s Dan Fabian of WGN hired Spike away from the Quad Cities and he was on the air in Chicago from 1987 until December 12, 2008, when he retired young (55) and moved to Nashville with his family. His parting comment at his last show from the Metropolis Theater in Arlington Heights: “It was a good ride.”
Spike was voted Billboard Magazine’s Top 40 Personality of the Year for a medium market in 1987, and also received an award for Best Radio Afternoon Show in 1999. In addition to being a member of the UTHS Hall of Fame (2000), Spike was awarded the James A Lovell Failure Is Not An Option award in 2003. In 2014, he became a member of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame, paying tribute to his successful 22-year career at WGN in Chicago.
Spike confided that he had always planned to retire early. Going to bed at 7 p.m. so that he could get up by 5 a.m. to make it to work for WGN’s morning drive was something he did from 1987 until December of 2008. Now, he told me, “I only do what I want to do.”
What does he want to do? He paints—very well, in fact—has his HAM radio license, golfs, enjoys life with wife Karen and a host of grandchildren, who called him “Grand Dude,” at first, [and now just call him “Dude.”] When I asked hi if he would recommend his career to any aspiring D.J.’s, he did not think that was such a good idea.
We talked about his famous interviews with the likes of Michael Jordan, the Beatles, astronauts, and others. (His favorite was an astronaut; listen to the podcast to find out which one). We talked about the millions of dollars his creative ideas had raised for charity, involving such ideas as “Wham! Bam! Traffic Jam!” which gifted money to the Annie Wittenmeyer Home in Davenport, and the Bite Your Butt mustard that sold way more cases than anyone had anticipated.
I had to ask Spike about sharing the news of “Uncle Bobby’s” death on the air waves in Chicago when his predecessor in morning drive was killed in a tragic plane accident. Spike remembers it as one of the worst days of his life and says he felt “numb.” Naturally, the station was scooped by all other stations in the metro area, as they waited for Bobby Collins’ family members to be notified.
Spike has always been a fun-loving guy, and it was the fun going out of the job, somewhat, that caused him to walk out the door at the young retirement age of 55. He described various directives coming down from the top, instructing on-the-air personalities to try to become cookie cutter personalities and, as Spike himself admitted, “I’m a personality guy.” Various words were declared to be off-limits when on air. One was the word “degrees” when discussing the weather.
I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Spike about his time on the air and, while we were on a commercial break and he was asking technician Sean about the extent of the seemingly unending commercial breaks, I happened to glance a foot to my right, at the wall in my basement where a bulletin board hangs on the wood paneling. There was a large black spider roughly the size of a silver dollar right in the middle of my bulletin board
This thing was BIG! It had to be at least 3 inches across, and, initially, I thought my husband was playing a prank and had pasted a “fake” Halloween spider on the bulletin board. It was perfectly in the middle of the billboard, which is plastered with a variety of white memos. (It really showed up well on those memos.) I had not noticed it until the final commercial break, and I was just about to reach over and touch it when it MOVED!
You have not seen a woman jump out of a desk chair faster. I could hear Sean answering Spike’s question about the commercials on the show and I also was thinking, “If I have to speak into that microphone, my head will only be about a foot away from that thing!” I’m not a lover of spiders. I think it is a fear that I have passed on to my children. I remember being 9 months pregnant with my second child and not being able to convince my son (then 19) to climb up and kill a giant spider that was in the corner above our TV set. (We compromised and vacuued it up with a long vacuum tube.)
If you listen to the podcast (posted here within the week), you will hear me coming back from break and thoroughly freaked out by this “spider the size of a Buick.” (“Annie Hall.” Thanks, Woody)
It was a good show, and I want to thank Spike (“At the Mike”) O’Dell for agreeing to spend an hour with me strolling down memory lane.
Please leave a comment on the Bold Brave Media Global Network page, (if you listen to it there) that urges them to compensate their interviewer, i.e., me. Seems only fair.
I am currently booking guests for my Thursday night podcast into August.
While my last post addressed the months of May (one week remaining) and June, here are those tentatively scheduled for June, July and August. This week’s author is Anita Oswald, author of “West Side Girl,” a nice companion to last week’s book “Redlined” by Linda Gartz, also about the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago. (Linda’s book was the 2018 Chicago Writers’ Association Nonfiction Book of the Year.)
June 4, 2020: Guest will be Barbara Barnett, Chicago author of “The Apothecary’s Curse” who is promoting the sequel to that book, “Alchemy of Glass.” Barbara is a member of both HWA (Horror Writers’ Association) and SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America).
June 11, 2020: Spike (“at the mike”) O’Dell, former WGN on-air radio personality.
June 18, 2020: Heather Graham, New York Times best-selling author of the Krewe of Hunters romantic/paranormal series, speaking about her newest book, “Seeing Darkness,” the Krewe of Hunters Book #30.
June 25, 2020: Suzie Quatro, prior to the release of the documentary on her life. Suzi was Joan Jett before there was a Joan Jett.
July 2, 2020: Anthony Whyte, owner/editor of www.TheMovieBlog.com, the 3rd most heavily consulted movie blog on the Internet.
July 9, 2020: Lance Taubold and Rich Devin of Las Vegas, Nevada, book publishers and authors at Invoke Books.
July 16, 2020: Tori Eldridge, author of “The Ninja Daughter” from Polis Books.
July 23, 2020: Quad City author Sean Leary, author of “The Arimathean” series and other books.
July 30, 2020: Dan Burns, Chicago Writers’ Association treasurer and Chicago film critic and screenwriter.
August 6, 2020: Iris Waichler, author of “Role Reversal: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Aging Parents”
August 13, 2020: Jon Land, novelist (“The Caitlin Strong” series) and screenwriter.
Some of the above are subject to change and tentative, but this gives you somewhat of an idea who is scheduled in the future. I was working on an interview with Cathy Moriarty, but her agent has said the pandemic has caused her to “go to ground” and cancel all such appearances. I’m still waiting to hear back from Gary Cole’s representatives.
May 21st – My guest on Weekly Wilson, the podcast, at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday was Linda Gratz, talking about her book “Redlined.” It was a fascinating hour.
May 28th – My guest this coming Thursday will be Anita Solick Oswald, author of “West Side Girl” ad a founding member of the Boulder Writing Studio. Anita and I will talk again about the same neighborhood that Linda Gratz grew up in during the fifties and the sixties, West Garfield Park. Linda’s memoir is a more lighthearted look at what she remembers fondly as a great childhood growing up the changing Chicago neighborhood.
June 4 – My guest on Thursday will be Barbara Barnett, author of “The Apothecary’s Curse” and “Alchemy of Glass.”
June 11 – My guest will be former WGN on-air radio personality Spike (“at the Mike”) O’Dell.
June 18 – My guest is scheduled to be New York Times Best-Selling author Heather Graham, author of the Krewe of Hunters romance/paranormal novels.
June 25 – Rock star Suzi Quatro is scheduled to be with me in advance of the documentary about her life. Suzi was Joan Jett before there was a Joan Jett.
Weekly Wilson of 4/30 with heart transplant survivor Jennifer Berliner brought in a record number of phone call questions.
There were 5 callers, [although one left line before we could get past the commercial to take the question].
One was from Colorado. I don’t know anyone in Colorado. One was from area code 301. (What state is that?)
Jennifer was the great guest I knew she’d be and we covered her cancer experiences (at age 15), her heart transplant, and the diabetes she currently fights. We also covered the costs associated with having a heart transplant, which Jennifer told me is her most popular YouTube video.
I jotted down just a few of the figures, with $640,000 for her hospitalization, $70,000 for the heart surgeon, $200,000 for the anaesthesiologist, and $80,000 for the cost of removing the donor’s heart and transferring it for transplant. She also mentioned the $35,000 a year that it costs for anti-rejection drugs and a total figure of $1.2 million. One of our callers wanted to know her out-of-pocket costs and we got figures that were in the $14,000 range for the first year.
The hour went by quickly, and I directed callers to Jennifer’s blog (www.anewheartrocks.com) and told them that it would be relatively easy to find the show when it is archived and goes up on my Weekly Wilson blog. (www.WeeklyWilson.com).
Next week’s guest is Dan Decker, AFI graduate, founder of the Chicago Screenwriting School, and author of the books Anatomy of a Screenplay: Writing the American Screenplay from Character Structure to Convergence and The Prime: The Dark Side of Light. Dan also holds dual Italian/United States citizenship and his brother is also an author.