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 – Vern started his career as one of those snarky critics who wrote in to Harry Knowles’ landmark and influential movie website Ain’t It Cool News. He became a regular writer for the site and his work there turned him into a very unorthodox author. His first book was a fantastic examination of, believe it or not, the career of Steven Seagal. Newly updated with a dozen new chapters about the recent adventures of his subject matter (the first printing was in 2008), “Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal” is a funny, clever read for fans of the unusual action star and those who have never seen one of his movies. Vern’s movie-loving, smart, enjoyable writing makes this a more entertaining experience than Seagal himself has ever produced.
CHICAGO – “Machete” may be one of the most wonderfully-conceived films of 2010. The idea that one of the fake trailers from “Grindhouse” could ever become a full-length film is a movie lover’s dream come true (and it’s so ironic that “Machete” grossed more domestically than the movie that spawned it). While I love the very existence of “Machete,” the movie itself is something of a disappointment, and it’s not helped by a mediocre Blu-ray that barely has any special features.
CHICAGO – Not everything should be filet mignon. Sometimes you just want a greasy, delicious cheeseburger. Now imagine eating ten of those cheeseburgers in a row.