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 – While it’s cruder and it can’t quite match the original “Ted,” “Ted 2” is still funnier than it has any right to be. It is unmistakably a Seth MacFarlane production, and there are a million reasons why this movie shouldn’t work, chief among them a plot that attempts to plop a foul mouthed talking teddy bear into a moralistic legal parable about civil rights. But I can’t deny I laughed throughout, almost despite myself.
CHICAGO – Glen Campbell, the singer, actor and personality, is ingrained into a certain late 1960s/early ‘70s ethos. His sunny disposition and clean pop music rhetoric crossed over from country to the mainstream, and in that other era he could seriously call his television show “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.” Today, he fights a losing battle against Alzheimer’s Disease in the emotional documentary, “Glen Campbell, I’ll Be Me.”
CHICAGO – The creator behind the provocative new documentary “Dirty Wars” is veteran investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, and he is unafraid to reveal the dirt on the perpetual conflict under the heading of the war on terror. Scahill is not a stranger to controversy, and his insertion into the film’s narrative is part of the story itself.
CHICAGO – Any list of the most influential and important people in the history of television that doesn’t include Johnny Carson is simply incomplete. He was SUCH a force in the medium, coming into the homes of millions every night. That’s why so many luminaries came out to speak about the man in the excellent “American Masters” documentary “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.
CHICAGO – There is arguably no icon on a higher pedestal in the history of television than Johnny Carson, the man who didn’t just host “The Tonight Show” for three decades but became a cultural fixture. We let Johnny into our homes and trusted him in ways that I believe just can’t happen again in a more cynical TV age. He was a nightly visitor for millions and the new PBS documentary about him, “American Masters Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” is one of the best TV history documentaries yet produced.
CHICAGO – You may assume from that title that I’m referring to the “other half” of Conan O’Brien’s story being that of Jay Leno and his involvement in the debacle surrounding “The Tonight Show” but I could care less what Leno has to say. Or anyone at NBC. No, this hardcore Team Coco member was surprised by how much of the acclaimed new doc about O’Brien, recently released on DVD, was about his tour and how little was about what the man has gone through in the last couple years. It’s a good doc about how to come out of a tough situation without really telling us enough about how O’Brien got there in the first place.
CHICAGO – In our latest documentary edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup, we have 3 DVDs and limited-edition theatrical posters up for grabs to “Exit Through the Gift Shop”!
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
CHICAGO – Anyone who has ever seen a Sam Kinison stand-up special knows the truth. The man was a genius. Finally, people unfamiliar with the mad preacher will get to see for themselves and those of us old enough to remember Kinison’s all-too-brief time in the spotlight can revisit this inspirational and hilarious comedian on DVD with “Sam Kinison Unleashed”.
CHICAGO – Chicago’s John Cusack will play a mad scientist’s hunchbacked lab assistant in the animated feature film “Igor” from The Weinstein Company.