The co-star of the hit television series, “Madam Secretary”, Tim Daly, an icon of the big and small screen, and the man who gave him his first major role, Hollywood Legend Barry Levinson, will be in Washington Sunday, August 26, to talk about their work, career and lives.
The discussion, entitled “Prescient Politics: Art Foreshadows Life,” is part of the annual summer series “Conversations On the Green” and will focus on how their work on the big and small screens has foreshadowed today’s salacious headlines, making the imagination pale in the face of daily events.
Take “Wag The Dog,” the black comedy by Levinson, a legendary writer, actor, director and producer whose work serves as nothing less than a roadmap for the country’s direction and a prequel to even the most improbable of today outré moments. The movie, in which two spin doctors fabricate a war to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal, was dismissed as implausible satire when it was released in 1997 but now has become a touchstone for television taking heads.
Or “Diner,” Levinson’s 1982 comedy that led to Daly’s breakout. It was about, well, nothing at all. Widely dissed as a “little movie” without a story when it opened, it created a tectonic shift in popular culture. As Vanity Fair noted on its 30thanniversary, the film, which Levinson wrote and directed, invented the concept of nothing, foreshadowing our culture by paving the way for “Seinfeld,” “Pulp Fiction” and “The Office.”
“No movie from the 1980s has proved more influential,” S.L. Price wrote five years ago in the magazine. “Diner has had far more impact on pop culture than the stylistic masterpiece “Bladerunner,” the indie darling “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” or the academic favorites “Ragin Bull” and “Blue Velvet” . . . “Diner’s” groundbreaking evocation of male friendship changed the way men interact, not just in comedies and buddy movies, but in fictional Mob settings, in fictional police and fire stations, in commercials, on the radio. In 2009, The New Yorker’s TV critic Nancy Franklin, speaking about the TNT series “Men of a Certain Age,” observed that “Levinson should get royalties any time two or more men sit together in a coffee shop.” She got it only half right. They have to talk too.”
That’s not to mention making Judd Apatow’s career and stars of Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, and Paul Reiser as well as Daly, who went on to voice the character of Superman in several itineration’s of the superhero film series. The descendent of a long line of actors, including his father James and sister, Tyne, the boyishly handsome Daly emerged as a stage and screen regular in such shows as “Wings” before becoming a household name as a star of the smash hit Madam Secretary, which follows the professional and personal life of an imaginary secretary of state.
Levinson, known for his affection for small time con men and his disdain for their political betters, started his career as a comedy writer, working for Carol Burnett and Mel Brooks, with whom he collaborated to create the iconic farces “Silent Movie,” “High Anxiety,” and “History of the World, Part I.”
During that time, he also cowrote the screenplay for the crime drama “And Justice for All,” which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. He continued to gather acclaim with such films as “The Natural,” which starred Robert Redford as a mythical baseball hero; “Young Sherlock Holmes;” “Tin Men,” the bookend to “Diner” about two older aluminum siding salesmen; and the sarcastic comedy “Good Morning, Vietnam,” about a military disc jockey played by Robin Williams.
After “Rain Man,” a stinging hate letter to greed, he once again previewed the country’s political passions with the 1990 immigrant story, “Avalon.” The next year came “Bugsy,” the saga of the Las Vegas mob that earned ten Academy Award nominations and now seems prescient. His more recent work has flipped the coin, focusing on reportage, such “Poliwood,” an in-depth documentary about the 2008 Democratic and Republican national conventions, “The Wizard of Lies” about Bernie Madoff and “Paterno,” starring Al Pacino. Released this year, it examines the career of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his dismissal following the university’s child sex abuse scandal.
Former NBC News correspondent & talk show host. Audience members will be encouraged to participate in the interactive town-hall style format.
All proceeds benefit:
Greenwoods Counseling Referrals, Inc. – Helping members of the Litchfield County Community and beyond find access to compassionate and high-quality mental health and related care.
New Milford Hospital – helping to secure the latest technology, attract the best medical staff and provide the compassionate, patient-centered care for which they are nationally recognized.
Susan B. Anthony Project – promoting safety, healing, and growth for all survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and advocates for the autonomy of women and the end of interpersonal violence.
Tickets are available at two levels:
$45 – Individual tickets.
$250 per person – “Angels on the Green” tickets, include preferred seating and a chance to meet the speakers at a cocktail reception following the conversation at The Owl Wine Bar in New Preston.
Seating is limited. To reserve your place:
Email Conversations on the Green: Please let us know what type and how many tickets you’d like and how you prefer to be contacted. [email protected]
To buy tickets online with a Credit Card or PayPal, click “Register Now!” below.
Some portion of your payment is tax deductible.
We suggest you consult with your accountant or attorney.
We look forward to seeing you there!
St. John’s Parish Hall
9 Parsonage Lane, Washington CT 06793
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