CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
CHICAGO – It was 38 years ago that the seminal horror film “Halloween” was released, and its impact made a star out of the heroine in the film, Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis was in the Chicago area in September to promote her new children’s book, “This is Me: The Story of Who and Where We Came From,” (illustrated by Laura Cornell).
CHICAGO – Last August, the 2014 Wizard World Comic Con came to Chicago, and featured cast members from “The Walking Dead,” among other film and television celebrities. Another edition of the popular convention, called “Fan Fest,” is taking place next month in Chicagoland, March 7th and 8th, 2015, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.
CHICAGO – “Halloween” is no mere horror movie. It is arguably the best of its genre, a film that continues to influence the form 35 years after its release. The excellent new transfer of the film on the latest Anchor Bay HD iteration is reason alone to pick it up, and the new active participation in the release on behalf of Jamie Lee Curtis, a star often silent regarding the films that made her a star, is just an amazing bonus.
CHICAGO – The long career of Jamie Lee Curtis has taken her from early “scream queen” status to pitching yogurt. But what is lesser known about the popular actress is that she is a child’s book author of note. “My Brave Year of Firsts” is her tenth collaboration with illustrator Laura Cornell, and she was at Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, Ill) last autumn to read excerpts and autograph the book.
CHICAGO – If one actress can represent an era of classic and cult movies, P.J. Soles is a pretty good candidate. Her string of roles in high profile and familiar films from the mid 1970s to early ‘80s including “Carrie,” “Halloween,” “Breaking Away.” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” “Private Benjamin” and “Stripes.”
CHICAGO – By the age of 15, actress Hanna Hall had delivered iconic lines in two of the most acclaimed films of the ’90s. After famously yelling, “Run, Forrest, run!” in Robert Zemeckis’s Oscar-winner, “Forrest Gump,” Hall nailed the unforgettable line, “Obviously, doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl,” in Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut, “The Virgin Suicides.”
CHICAGO – It’s Halloween weekend, and what better time to have Linda Blair, who portrayed the Satan-possessed child named Regan in “The Exorcist,” introduce that film at the Hollywood Palms in Naperville, Illinois, and the Hollywood Blvd Cinema in nearby Woodridge.
CHICAGO – John Carpenter’s “The Ward” would make for a satisfying episode of the now-canceled “Masters of Horror” and might therefore be an interesting rental someday but it doesn’t live up to the pedigree of its once-brilliant director and ultimately disappoints regardless of the name above the title. After a decade away from the big screen, Carpenter proves he still has his legendary skill with tension and the film features a few strong performances but the script is a generic, derivative mess.
CHICAGO – What happens when Halloween happens to land on a Sunday night and FOX is airing the World Series? The annual tradition of the “Treehouse of Horror” episode of “The Simpsons” has to air in November. Damn you, Bud Selig. At least FOX is trying to make amends by offering not just one holiday-themed episode tonight but extending the affair to all four of their “Animation Domination” programs — “The Simpsons,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Family Guy,” and “American Dad.”
CHICAGO – Our younger readers may find it hard to believe that John Carpenter was once one of the most inspiring filmmakers in the world. He’s still one of the truly influential voices of the ’70s and ’80s despite the tragedy that has been his career for the last couple decades. Save for the occasional flare-up (“Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns,” “In the Mouth of Madness”), Carpenter’s work has barely resembled his prime. For proof, check out the still-amazing and timeless “Escape From New York,” now available on Blu-ray for the first time.