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 – In 2010, the cast of the reality show “Jersey Shore” was named one of Barbara Walter’s Ten Most Fascinating People. Among those fascinating folks is Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, arguably one of the most familiar of that show’s regulars. Her new book is “Strong is the New Sexy: My Kickass Story on Getting my ‘Formula for Fierce’” and she made an appearance to promote that title at the Old Orchard Barnes & Noble in Skokie, Ill.
CHICAGO – A number of recent TV seasons hit DVD and Blu-ray right after Christmas, hoping to get a share of that gift card balance burning a hole in your wallet. If you have any left, we thought you might want to know the details so you can plan your assault of the local Best Buy or fill your Amazon cart. This is a Round-up feature that serves mostly as information, letting you know the synopsis, tech specs, special features, etc., but if we had to pick favorites, FX’s “Archer” rules. It’s the best of the bunch, but, honestly, all four should satisfy fans (even if “The Borgias” is annoyingly light on special features). Yes, even “Jersey Shore.”
CHICAGO – When most people hear that I’m a TV critic, they usually make a snarky comment about the disaster of reality TV. While I agree that a vast majority of it is nearly unbearable, I don’t think it’s fair to lump the entire genre into one negative bundle. It’s not surprising that I love the critical darlings like “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” and “Top Chef” but jaws drop when I try to defend MTV’s massive hit “Jersey Shore,” the third season of which was just released in an uncensored, 4-disc set.
CHICAGO – There’s something about “Jersey Shore” that makes it unbelievably watchable. I’ll never understand why people have taken to the oversaturated “Real Housewives” franchise or the draw of “Hoarders,” but I totally get “Jersey Shore.” It’s difficult not to be entertained by personalities this larger-than-life and the bonus is that they feel as close to real as reality television has been in years. “Jersey Shore” never seems nearly as scripted as “The Hills,” reminding viewers of my generation of the “Real World” dramatics of the show’s first few years — back when it felt, you know, real.
CHICAGO – MTV’s “Jersey Shore” features Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, who recently was in Chicago promoting his book, “Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades and Getting in your G.T.L. on the Jersey Shore” at Borders Books Lincoln Park.
CHICAGO – Maybe I live under a rock, but I must admit to being unfamiliar with the world of “Jersey Shore” outside of the occasional tabloid news item about a cast member and Bobby Moynihan’s now-even-more brilliant portrayal of “Snooki” on “Saturday Night Live.” When “Jersey Shore Uncensored: Season One” showed up on my desk, I cautiously approached the 3-disc set.