The feature-length version of Ted Bogosian's “Live at Mister Kelly’s,” the made-in and made-about Chicago documentary film, will have its American premiere at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street. It will run at the venue from Friday, September 17th, through Monday, September 20th, with filmmaker Q&As planned for each night.
The legendary nightclub Mister Kelly’s, called a “supernova in the local and national night-life firmament,” illuminated legendary Chicago’s Rush Street and the entire country. The movie has tantalizing live footage of performances and interviews of many who were at the heart of Kelly’s success. “Our city of Chicago was the entertainment epicenter of the country during that time and my father and uncle built an unrivaled talent incubator,” said executive producer David Marienthal.
David is the son and nephew to the late Marienthal brothers, George and Oscar, who conceived and operated three ground-breaking nightclubs. The London House was opened in 1946, followed by Mister Kelly’s in 1953 and the Happy Medium Theater in 1960. These venues launched the careers of such stars-to-be as Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Herbie Hancock, Ramsey Lewis, Lenny Bruce, Lily Tomlin, Mort Sahl, and Joan Rivers. Over 30 live albums were recorded at the clubs including recordings by such immortal artists as Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, the Smothers Brothers, Freddie Prinze, and Flip Wilson.
The filmmakers drew on a comprehensive archive Marienthal has assembled and donated to the Newberry Library’s permanent collection. More than 100 interviews, recordings, photos, and memorabilia tell the story of the movements for free speech, civil rights, women’s liberation, and anti-war that happened alongside the fabulous entertainment. The archive will be curated by the Newberry and presented in part as a major exhibit with public programs in 2023. Non-profit partners include ChiArts and the Jazz Foundation of America.
Theodore Bogosian, the film's writer and director, is an award-winning independent filmmaker and television producer who has been directing, producing, and writing scores of long-form documentaries for PBS, the New York Times, Discovery, and other networks since 1978. The editor and producer, Scott Dummler, is the proprietor of MintMedia Works and has produced or directed projects in over 20 countries. He is also the producer, director, and editor of Chef Rick Bayless’s public television cooking show “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” work that has gained him two national Emmy nominations.He has also directed, produced and edited programs for "Ebert Presents At The Movies." Adam Carston is the senior researcher and associate producer.
The 6:30pm screening of "Live at Mister Kelly's" on Friday, September 17th, will be followed by a Q&A with director Ted Bogosian; editor/producer Scott Dummler; Curator of Mister Kelly’s Archive at Newberry Library, Alison Hinderliter; and executive producer David Marienthal, moderated by Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune).
The film's 6:30pm screening on Saturday, September 18th, will be followed by a Q&A with comedian/subject Tim Reid, director Ted Bogosian, editor/producer Scott Dummler and executive producer David Marienthal, moderated by John Landecker (WGN/Radio).
The 3:30pm screening scheduled for Sunday, September 19th, will be followed by a Q&A with comedian/subject Tim Reid; director Ted Bogosian; Curator of Mister Kelly’s Archive at Newberry Library, Alison Hinderliter; and executive producer David Marienthal; moderated by Laura Washington (Chicago Sun-Times).
And the 6pm screening on Monday, September 20th, will be followed by a Q&A with editor/producer Scott Dummler; Richard Steele of WBEZ; Curator of Mister Kelly’s Archive at Newberry Library, Alison Hinderliter; and executive producer David Marienthal; moderated by Perri Small (WVON).