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 – Being a child of the ’80s, I can vividly remember when David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” took the world by storm. I was too young to see it in theaters but I would be an early teen when the decade ended and the film made a stunning number of lists of the best films of the previous ten years. I could finally see what the fuss was all about on VHS. I would never be the same. There are a few movies I can point to and say, “That shaped the way I look at film.” “Blue Velvet,” recently released on Blu-ray to celebrate its 25th anniversary and complete with 50 minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes, is one of those movies.
CHICAGO – How many men have missed out on a great relationship because they were chasing a romantic vision largely of their own making? James Gray’s excellent “Two Lovers,” the film that Joaquin Phoenix has notoriously been promoting in a style similar to that of Andy Kaufman, is a wonderful character-driven drama about a man caught between what he has and what he wants.