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 – One of Chicago’s most popular pop culture gatherings is the Wizard World Comic Con, and the 2015 edition is building anticipation for the weekend of Thursday, August 20th through Sunday the 23rd. Besides the fan costumes, vendor booths and comic book legends, Wizard World has appearances from TV and movie celebrities, highlighted by Burt Reynolds (“Deliverance,” “Smokey and the Bandit”) and Jeremy Renner (The Avengers film series).
CHICAGO – James Gandolfini, who gave us one of the most influential and timeless characters of all time as Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos,” has passed away at the age of 51 after suffering a heart attack on vacation in Italy, where he was to receive an award at a film festival this week, according to Variety.
CHICAGO – David Chase, the man who seduced audiences with HBO’s “The Sopranos” before leaving them hanging in one of the most brilliantly audacious finales in TV history, is certainly not a fan of tidy endings. He understands that suggestion and implication can be infinitely more powerful than closure, and he beautifully applies this principle to his feature directorial debut, “Not Fade Away.”
CHICAGO – It was one of the most famous endings in TV history. Tony Soprano, the patriarch of “The Sopranos,” waiting at a restaurant for his family while “Don’t Stop Believin’” was blaring on the soundtrack. It is that rock sensibility that permeates “Not Fade Away,” the new film by the creator of “The Sopranos,” David Chase.
CHICAGO – The first proper reveal of the new video game “L.A. Noire” from Rockstar Games was released on Thursday. The game, which is coming in 2011 to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, features TV stars Kevin Scott Allen and Aaron Staton.
CHICAGO – Is there any lingering doubt that we are in the golden age of television? If you need further proof of the remarkable breadth of the genre in 2010, look no further than HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” an amazing new dramatic series courtesy of one of cinema’s masters (Martin Scorsese) and one of television’s (“The Sopranos” veteran Terence Winter).
CHICAGO – The network that redefined TV on DVD has some catching up to do when it comes to Blu-Ray. When you buy a Blu-Ray player for that TV-loving viewer in your family, they can buy all five seasons of “Lost,” the complete series of “Battlestar Galactica,” and even the original “Star Trek” on Blu-Ray, but most HBO series are just catching up. With an excellent recent release for “Rome,” the studio/network now turns its gaze to the best program of the ’00s with the first season of “The Sopranos”.
CHICAGO – Matteo Garrone’s revelatory crime picture joins the esteemed group of worthy foreign film Oscar contenders (like “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”) inexplicably snubbed by the Academy. But such accolades are meaningless compared to the reaction it has received, breaking box office records in its limited release, while acquiring the passionate support of film icons like Martin Scorsese.
CHICAGO – Men in three-piece suits. Smoking and drinking throughout the day in your corner office. Womanizing and objectifying every woman in the secretarial pool.