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 – There are rock stars, and then there are the women of “The Runaways.” The girl group that spawned Joan Jett was also notable for proving that punk rock was not just reserved for dudes. Lita Ford, the lead guitarist, has just written a memoir of those heady days – “Living Like a Runaway” – and appeared recently at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., at an event sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop.
CHICAGO – There’s a great moment early on in “The Runaways” where fifteen-year-old Cherie Currie lip-syncs to Davie Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul” at a high school talent show. Her hardened baby face defiantly stares into the crowd, as her peers accompany the performance with catcalls. Yet instead of dissolving into a puddle of girlish tears, Currie flips off the surrounding student body. She clearly doesn’t give a d—n about her bad reputation.
CHICAGO – Joan Jett rocks and her 1975 roots are on display in a movie bio about her first band, “The Runaways.” Kristen Stewart portrays Jett and Dakota Fanning takes on the band’s troubled lead singer, Cherie Currie.