Oak Park celebrity beat: Strong and Gevinson

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

Strong out on 'Update'

Oak Park native Cecily Strong won't be appearing at the 'Weekend Update' desk this season of "Saturday Night Live," slated to air Sept. 27 on NBC.

Strong joined Seth Myers last season on 'Update' before he left the show to host "Late Night." After that, one of the show's head writers, Colin Jost, joined her for the remainder of the season.

Now, there will be two men as 'Update' anchors for the first time in the sketch comedy show's history: Colin Jost and Strong's replacement Michael Che.

Che, 31, has built a career in the New York City stand-up scene and has appeared on shows such as "The Late Show with David Letterman," "Late Night with Seth Myers" and "The Daily Show." Che was also a writer for "SNL" last year.

While Strong will not be throwing zings from the 'Update' desk this season, she will remain one of the show's featured players.

Gevinson's Broadway debut

Oak Park's Tavi Gevinson is on stage in her broadway debut at Cort Theatre in New York City with fellow "This Is Our Youth" cast mates Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin. The coming-of-age production written by Kenneth Lonergan premiered in NYC on Sept. 11.

New York Times theatre reviewer Ben Brantley commends Gevinson for a spot-on performance as the fictional 18-year-old Jessica Goldman.

Gevinson, according to Brantley in Friday's Times edition, "nails exactly the aggressive defensiveness of a girl who sees boys as both the enemy and salvation."

"This Is Our Youth," directed by Anna Shapiro, launched at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre this summer.

In the September issue of Vanity Fair, Lonergan describes his impression of Gevinson. He writes that he thought her to be "charming, straightforward, unassuming, friendly, and generally delightful." As an actress, Lonergan applauds her work ethic, calling her hardworking and serious, as well as her humor and imagination.

As if fashion writer, editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine and actress were not enough impressive hats for the 18-year-old to wear, Lonergan likens the recent Oak Park and River Forest graduate to Superman.

"During our first real conversation," writes Lonergan, "I had the impression that Tavi was holding in check an enormous intelligence, the way Superman must have to hold himself back when he shakes hands with people."

The two-page spread in Vanity Fair includes, what seems to be, a very genuine nod to Genvison's skill and ability as well as a whimsical photograph by Annie Leibovitz of Gevinson in a crab-apple tree outside her family's Oak Park home.

Gevinson sits on a tree limb with legs dangling, wrapped in a silhouette of soft greens and yellows, her red dress billowing. She holds a branch with, what I perceive to be, a look of caution that seems to say, "Should I take the leap?"

So far, Gevinson's jump to centre stage is working out just fine.

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