Arts & Culture

I love Eastern State Penitentiary, not just at Halloween but all year. The staff does a lot of work educating people about prison reform and the history of incarceration in the United States and around the world. They work with artists and activists and contribute a lot to the community. Through this column, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many cool people who work there, usually around this time of year when ESP flips to Terror Behind the Walls. One of the top-rated haunted attractions in the country, it’s set in the massive, castle-like former prison where outlaws like Al Capone were incarcerated.

UP WITH PEOPLE: Circa, the contemporary and highly acrobatic circus troupe from Australia, returns to the Annenberg Center with the U.S. premiere of “Humans,” about the power of physical and emotional strength, Sept. 28-29 at Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-898-3900. Photo: Pedro Greig

 

’Tis the season for a certain orange fruit — before you get all excited by the name, we need to tell you there’s no pumpkin in any considerable quantity on the menu. Yes, you get a packet of roasted pumpkin seeds at the end of your meal. But we found out that “Pumpkin” is the pet name chefs and owners Ian Moroney and Hillary Bor have for each other.

 When soprano Patricia Racette — opera sensation, gay woman, activist, enthusiast — approaches “Ne Quittez Pas: A Reimagined La Voix Humaine” for O18, she does it with the same relish she had with the most famous roles in her career, including Violetta in “La Traviata,” Mimì and Musetta in “La Bohème” and Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly.”

Young but legendary countertenor and LGBTQ icon Anthony Roth Costanzo has graced Opera Philadelphia in the recent past, first in “Phaedra” as Artemis, then in “Written on Skin” and its modern tale of lust, violence, purity and deceit in the dual role of First Angel and Boy.

You may have heard about it — local clubs being called out for discriminating against people of color in the Gayborhood. A community divided, up in arms, and a group formed to try to get a handle on the situation. The year was not 2013 — it was 1981, and the organization was called Black and White Men Together (BWMT).

 Out and outspoken comedian, actor and award-winning writer, Wanda Sykes, is back on the road doing what she does best: delivering blisteringly funny and socially conscious humor — and sparing no one, including family, the razor sharp wit of her insightful and uncensored observations.

The first scene of “Lizzie” opening Sept. 21at the Landmark Ritz Five takes place on Aug. 4, 1892, with the title character (Chlöe Sevigny) screaming in horror as she discovers the dead body of her mother, Abby (out actress Fiona Shaw).

THE LULLABIES OF BROADWAY: The annual Miss’D America Pageant returns to the Borgata with TV personality Carson Kressley hosting this year’s event celebrating the Great White Way, with lavish sets and performance numbers from some of Broadway’s classic and latest shows, 8 and 11 p.m. Sept. 22, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J. For more information or tickets, call 609-317-1000.

 When superstar mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe sings tenor in male drag (“that’s Blythely Oratonio to you”) for Opera Fest 2018, it will be more than just an auspicious meeting of the minds, wigs and muse, scriptwriter John Jarboe.

In choreographer Trajal Harrell, modern dance has its most poignant historian, funniest class clown and most sensual essayer of cultures and expressions outside his own era.

Along with creating the post-vogue classic series “Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church” for the 2014 Fringe Festival, Harrell — who spends most of his time in France — is also famous for the messed-up version of the hoochie-coochie, as presented in his new Fringe work, “Caen Amour.”

When multidisciplinary choreographer John Bernd succumbed to AIDS in 1988, he didn’t go quietly. Long a lion of Manhattan’s influential experimental dance scene, Bernd’s freeing poignancy of movement and depth of dramatic/thematic eclat created a worthwhile legacy.

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