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 – Very few directors have known how to utilize a star more effectively than the way Pedro Almodovar has turned Penelope Cruz from a gorgeous face into one of our best working actresses. Just the two films she’s made recently with Pedro - “Volver” and the new-to-DVD “Broken Embraces” - would earn her that title. “Broken Embraces” may not be perfect Pedro but sub-par Almodovar is still required viewing for all cineasts.