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 – “Let us split darkness with the cries of Romans.” Boobs, blood, and betrayal — “Spartacus” must be back. Following up on the action of the beloved “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” and coming on the heels of the most critical acclaim in the history of the network (“Boss”), Starz hopes to keep momentum going with the well-made if ridiculous “Spartacus: Vengeance.”
CHICAGO – “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is a ridiculous program, a mix of pretentious dialogue that thinks its more important than it is, elaborate battle sequences shot in slo-mo to hide the show’s budget, and historical inaccuracies on an epic scale. And yet it’s also remarkably enjoyable. It’s a guilty pleasure program that has developed a rabid following on Starz and should put the network on the map when it comes to original series with the help of an excellent Blu-ray release for the first season.