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 – Elisabeth Moss is the ‘Actor of Her Generation.’ She is a true chameleon, and can anchor a lead role while still expressing a twitch of consequence. The subject is depression in “Queen of Earth,” and writer/director Alex Ross Perry is able to honestly portray it through Moss.
CHICAGO – iO Chicago continues the Grand Opening at its new venue with one of its most famous alumni – the illustrious Joel Murray. Besides opening the seventh season of “Mad Men” with a brilliant monologue as Freddy Rumsen, Murray brings his “Joel Murray & Friends” show to the new iO Chicago on August 30th.
LOS ANGELES – It was one more lap around the victory track for the AMC-TV show ‘Breakling Bad,’ as the gritty drama about a teacher turned meth dealer took home six Primetime Emmy Awards at the 66th ceremony on August 25th. ‘Modern Family’ took home the statue for Outstanding Comedy Series for a a fifth straight year.
CHICAGO – You would think that a film written and directed by Matthew Weiner – the creator of “Mad Men” – would be worthwhile company, especially when the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. It is disappointing to note that not only was this cliché-ridden mess unpalatable, but it also switched gears two-thirds of the way through to evoke a different mood, and that schizophrenia didn’t help the overall product.
CHICAGO – Some old TV favorites and some new online upstarts highlight the nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, which takes place on Monday, August 25th, 2014. The Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” competes with stalwart sitcoms “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family” at this year’s ceremony.
CHICAGO – While there were a few nice surprises (Vera Farmiga! Laura Dern!), the 2013 Emmy nominations were a largely predictable bunch, including most of the nominees from last year, including “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” “Downton Abbey,” “Mad Men,” “Modern Family,” and many more.
CHICAGO – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is no longer the most popular person in the room. Time, depression, alcoholism, and the changing politics have altered this character, once such a vital force of human nature. Remember the days when everything Don said hit with the client? When he could juggle secret pasts and multiple mistresses? One of the most prominent arcs of “Mad Men” overall has been how that Don is fading away as the ’60s head toward the next decade.
CHICAGO – Zombies. Dragons. Gangsters. Meth dealers. David Lynch. It was a weird year for television. Was it a good year? Sorta. It was nowhere near the landmark year of 2011 but there was still a lot to like and it was easy to get to 30 shows worth mentioning.
CHICAGO – It may feel like the bloom is off the rose a little bit for “Mad Men” as the AMC hit has seen some of its acclaim stolen by other cable hits like “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” and “The Walking Dead.” And yet this is still a great show with yet another stellar Blu-ray season release from Lionsgate. Complete with commentaries and interesting special features, this release is in keeping with the stellar first four season releases for this multi-Emmy-Award winner.
CHICAGO – The 64th Annual Emmy Awards will go down on Sunday night and this year promises to be more unpredictable than ever…unless it’s not. While most pundits are thinking that this is the year that the Academy will take risks and award new blood, there’s just as much of a chance that we’ll see as many repeat winners as ever, maybe more.