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 – “Cheap Thrills” is a case study in human desperation and depravity. It’s a sick and twisted film, but it goes about it in a most absorbing albeit uncomfortable way. It’s one of those films that forces the viewer to place themselves in the protagonist’s unpredictable position, asking a question like, “what would you do for money?” Once you do it, what else are you willing to do for more and then, “how far is too far?”
CHICAGO – “Red White & Blue” is a deviously effective horror film precisely because it doesn’t appear to be one. There are subtle stylistic hints here and there, but nothing that truly signals the horrors to come. They emerge not from left field, but out of the characters’ own pent up rage, and their increasing desire to inflict pain upon the world that has failed them.