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Behind the Curtain with Paul Lisnek

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Behind the Curtain with Paul Lisnek on WGN Plus from WGN Radio in Chicago




Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Illinois Gubernatorial race and “United 232”

The race for Illinois Governor is underway and lots of democrats are seeking the nomination to challenge incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner. Paul begins a Meet the Candidates series on this edition of Behind the Curtain. The series is designed to let candidates set out their plans and policies for the state so YOU can decide who you want to support. This week, Paul interviews State Senator Daniel Biss, a former mathematician and professor who has been serving in Springfield for nearly 8 years....

Duration: 00:42:08

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: The Blue Man Group 20th anniversary and hurricanes

Blue Man Group is a Chicago institution (not to mention its presence in numerous other cities and countries) that celebrates 20 years in our city. Paul visits with original Co-Founder Phil Stanton and current Blue Man Brian Tavener. They reflect on how Blue man got started, how it has evolved and what it takes to be a Blue Man! Then, WGN-TV Meteorologist Demetrius Ivory joins Paul to discuss the seemingly frequent occurrence of “once in 500 years” hurricanes and storms. […]

Duration: 00:36:06

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Congress and DACA, Ron Hawking, “Bonnie and Clyde”

President Trump calls for the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and gives Congress six months to take action. Absent Congressional action, 800,000 young people will face deportation in the next couple of years. Paul is joined by Michael Golden, author of the book Unlock Congress, to look ahead at what dreamers can expect. Then, Paul is joined by Chicago’s very own singer, impressionist and performer Ron Hawking who brings his “The Men and Their Music,” (featuring...

Duration: 00:42:04

Paul Lisnek’s “Behind the Curtain”: A mayoral race and comedic impressions

The mayoral runoff race between Rahm Emanuel and Jesus Chuy Garcia made Chicago history. Now, a new book written by political insider Mike “Houli” Houlihan sheds light from inside the Garcia campaign. What kind of man is Garcia and what kind of man is Mayor Emanuel? Houli pulls no punches in casting a light on the dynamics of the race and what might happen in Chicago mayoral politics next time around. Then, sit back and enjoy the comedy and celebrity […]

Duration: 00:36:27

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: A falling approval rating and “Hair”

Paul discusses with political strategist Richard Gordon the president’s new strategy for addressing the war in Afghanistan, in the light of some recent polls displaying a decline in approval in states he won. Those include Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Then, Paul goes behind the curtain of the musical “Hair” playing at the Mercury Theater Chicago with legendary director Brenda Didier, and lead cast members Matthew Keffer (Berger) and Michelle Lauto (Sheila). The musical celebrates...

Duration: 00:40:44

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Illinois budget and superhuman math whiz

Money makes the world go round, but Illinois doesn’t have much of it. Paul is joined by John Tillman, President of the Illinois Policy Institute, to discuss how and whether the Governor’s budgetary philosophy has any chance of getting implemented. In addition, can any progress be made now that election season is underway for 2018? Then, Paul talks with Superhuman Mike Byster, a man whose mind can process numbers and calculations fast enough to boggle your mind. And Mike demonstrates how...

Duration: 00:34:56

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Gatekeepers of the White House, Greenhouse Theater Center

The most powerful person in the world is the President of the United States, but the second most powerful person is arguably his chief of staff, the person who controls access to the President, has his ear and has to have the guts to tell the President “no.” Filmmaker and Author Chris Whipple joins Paul to discuss his new book, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency. It’s a fascinating look at the role of the chief, […]

Duration: 00:37:55

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway

This week, Paul discusses all things Trump, including whether the president drafted that explanatory note for his son about the meeting with Russians, the impact of a new chief of staff and the ouster of Anthony Scaramucci, as White House communications director, with democratic strategist Brad Bannon. Then, Paul takes a look at Disney’s Aladdin currently playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre with one of the big stars, Anthony Murphy, who plays Genie!

Duration: 00:24:25

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: YouTube Star Rick NineG on TV classics

Paul takes a breather from politics this week, and will put a smile on your face with a focus on the longevity of the classic TV shows, “I Love Lucy” and “The Three Stooges,” with Rick NineG. Rick is a nationally recognized YouTuber who has created videos highlighting the bloopers only the keenest of eyes will catch from classic television. Paul and Rick talk about the power of social media in introducing new generations to the classics....

Duration: 00:34:12

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Former neo-Nazi Christian Picciolini comes out of darkness

You will likely find this week’s “Behind the Curtain” truly riveting, as Former neo-Nazi and Skinhead Christian Picciolini joins Paul to talk about how his early years as a bright and well-loved child from a good family got lost in extremist ideologies. He grew up in Chicagoland, where his story of violence and hatred eventually resolves into regret and seeking forgiveness. Now, he tries to turn the lives of others around for the good, but he has paid a heavy price along […]

Duration: 00:37:00

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Donald Trump Jr. meeting and a new Illinois budget

Donald Trump, Jr. meets with Russian government representatives to gain intel against Hillary Clinton. How bad is it? Does it cost him support among his loyal followers? And on the state front, Governor Rauner loses the budget battle to Speaker Mike Madigan and the Democrats. Can the Governor recover? Paul explores those issues from the perspective of WGN Republican Strategist Chris Robling. Chris is a Republican, but some of his answers might just surprise you....

Duration: 00:37:59

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Special Counsel investigation, keeping pets cool

The investigation of Special Counsel Mueller has been quiet in the media lately, but what’s really going on behind the scenes? Paul talks with a former Department of Justice prosecutor who shares her views on what is likely transpiring, and what we can expect going forward. Also, how political of a process is the Trump-Russia-Obstruction of Justice investigation? Then, WGN Radio Pet Expert Steve Dale talks about how responsible pet owners can and should protect their pets during the hot […]

Duration: 00:37:21

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Sidney Blumenthal on the Political Life of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is the father of the Republican Party, but what would he think about today’s Republican party? And just how politically savvy was our 16th President? Author and Political Strategist Sidney Blumenthal (Senior Advisor to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton) writes what will be a four-volume set, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln. Sidney discusses the newly released second volume, covering Lincoln form the years 1848 – 1856. But, Sidney also talks about the current...

Duration: 00:34:51

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain” | Former President Obama, Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies

President Obama will be studied for decades to come. But perhaps no book will be as definitive on the early pre-presidential years of the President as David Garrow’s Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Hear how his early years shaped the man, the woman in his life you’ve never heard about and who wears the pants in the Obama family! Then, actress Jessica Sherr shares her journey in the creation of Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies, currently playing at […]

Duration: 00:39:28

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Trump accomplishments to date and “Ragtime”, the musical

The busy week on the national political stage began with the president talking about the unprecedented level of accomplishment of his term to date, more so than most previous presidents. Democratic Strategist Brad Bannon discusses those accomplishments by calling that claim into question. Where things stand on the travel ban, healthcare, taxes and more are all discussed. Then, “Ragtime” Director Scott Weinstein and leading cast member Jason Richards discuss the Griffin Theatre Company...

Duration: 00:32:13

Paul Lisnek’s “Behind the Curtain”: Power of the mayor and police brutality

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has had iron clad control over city council, even more so than his predecessor Mayor Richard M. Daley. But that control has diminished during his current term. UIC Professor Dick Simpson talks about the results of his study that explains the dynamics impacting the Mayor’s control and what it means going forward. Then, Yale Law Professor and former Washington, D.C. Public Defender James Forman, Jr. discusses his new book, Locking Up Our Oown: Crime and Punishment in […]

Duration: 00:32:31

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: A Silver Lining tests for the underinsured and “Community” Star Danny Pudi

A Silver Lining Foundation provides education and access to breast cancer testing and treatment for both men and women, insured or not. Founder Dr. Sandy Goldberg informs Paul on this amazing foundation (you may recognize her voice from her work on WMAQ-TV). Then, Comedian Danny Pudi of “Community” and “Smurfs: The Lost Village” joins Paul to discuss the upcoming 3rd Annual Break Out Comedy Festival at Second City June 8th-10th. Don’t miss it!

Duration: 00:35:23

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: President Trump visits the Middle East, Illinois budget revisions and Pivot Arts Festival

Paul talks with Illinois Playbook Writer Natasha Korecki to review President Trump’s visit to the Middle East, and the impact of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester. Then, she shares whether Springfield legislators can get their act together to pass a budget, telling us who the winners and losers are. Then, Pivot Arts Director Julieanne Ehre discusses the fun for the family (and some just adults!) at the upcoming Pivot Arts Festival in Uptown.

Duration: 00:31:34

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Imprisoning the innocent and honoring Chicago’s LGBTQ community

As much as we like to think that only guilty people find themselves in prison, the reality is different. Professor Laura Caldwell discusses her book Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted, and tells the stories of innocent people who find themselves fighting for their freedom, when charged with crimes as serious as murder.This is a must read! Then, the Founder and Executive Director of the Legacy Project discusses the permanent exhibit that lines Halsted street in...

Duration: 00:32:45

Paul Lisnek’s – “Behind the Curtain”: Sally Yates Senate hearings & learning dialects for “My Fair Lady”

Paul Lisnek goes Behind the Curtain with DePaul University Professor Ben Epstein to discuss the Senate hearings of former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. In addition, they address the impact of the House vote on the healthcare replacement bill and where the Senate will go from here. Then, how do performers master the various dialects they need for various roles on stage and screen? Master dialect coach Christine Adaire discusses the dialect coaching used for the Lyric Opera’s My Fair […]

Duration: 00:33:52

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