Arts & Culture

Philly is in full festive-yuletide-jingle-bell swing, giving locals, visitors and shoppers a lot to see, do and purchase for the holidays. Yes, you could (and probably will) hit the malls, shopping center, internet and other modern temples of retail worship, but it would be a shame to not experience some good old-fashioned Philadelphia flair in the days leading up to whatever holiday lights your candles this year.

TRUE ‘COLOR’ SHINING THROUGH: The Tony Award-winning musical “The Color Purple,” based on the epic film and novel of the same name, returns to Philly for a run of performances Dec. 12-17 at Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-923-1515. Photo: Matthew Murphy

THE FOUR QUEENS OF CHRISTMAS: Drag stars Sherry Vine, Latrice Royale, Bebe Zahara Benet and Alexis Michelle converge on Atlantic City for “Christmas Queens,” a holiday-themed drag extravaganza, 9 p.m. Dec. 2 at Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J. For more information or tickets, call 609-317-1000.

Jonathan Olshefski’s poignant observational documentary “Quest,” opening Dec. 1 at Ritz at the Bourse, chronicles Christopher, aka Quest Rainey, his wife Christine’a, their daughter PJ and his son William as they eke out their lives in North Philadelphia. Unfolding during the eight years of the Obama administration, the film details the family’s trials and tribulations, from William battling cancer and a tragedy that befalls PJ to a leaky roof that needs fixing and a friend dealing with addiction issues. In a casual but affecting moment, PJ comes out; another scene has her parents discussing PJ’s sexuality. But the focus of “Quest,” and why it is so compelling, is the family’s resilience. This African-American family possesses a quiet dignity that is truly inspiring. Olshefski captures the intimate moments with affection.

I’m a big friend of PAT.

If you don’t know PAT, it’s an acronym for Philly AIDS Thrift, a magical place where you can buy household goods, books and records, electronic parts you never thought you’d be able to find again and the hippest clothes from almost every decade in the past 50 years (and probably more). It’s also a great place to donate those goods you love but just don’t have room for anymore.

Finnish actor Pekka Strang gives a fantastic, nuanced performance as Touko Laaksonen, the title character in “Tom of Finland,” director Dome Karukosi’s shrewd biopic of the famous gay artist, which opens Nov. 24 at the Ritz at the Bourse. The film is Finland’s entry for the Academy Awards.

WE WISH YOU A MELISSA CHRISTMAS: Out singer-songwriter and activist Melissa Etheridge performs a concert of her hits and holiday songs 8 p.m. Nov. 29 at Copeland Hall, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del. For more information or tickets, call 302-888-0200.

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