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 – The six foot, eight inch Brad Garrett is used to towering over the competition, but it is his comedic chops that got him the part of Robert Barone in the popular sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Garrett was at Hollywood Palms Cinema, on behalf of Anderson’s Bookshop, both in Naperville, Ill., to promote his new book, “When the Balls Drop.”
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.”
NEW YORK CITY – There are legends, and then there is Joan Rivers. The comedian and show business survivor had a life journey as an influential star from the 1960s all the way to the end of her life. Joan Rivers died on September 4th, 2014, in New York City after suffering respiratory failure last weekend.
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.
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 – “Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time,” comedian George Carlin once said. The iconic and award-winning figure died of heart failure on Sunday at the age of 71.