Arts & Culture

With a number of queer classics being screened this month at The Lightbox Film Center, there are at least two that definitely are worthy of your time.

Jean Vigo’s 1933 masterful “Zero for Conduct,” about “little devils at school,” will be screened Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at the center on 3701 Chestnut St.

FAR EAST DANCE FEAST: Five millennia of traditional Chinese culture come alive on stage when Shen Yun, the internationally famous dance troupe, performs its visually stunning show, Feb. 8-March 3 at Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-893-1999.

 

United Kingdom-based band Big Joanie is grabbing the attention of fans and music writers on both sides of the pond with debut LP “Sistahs.”

The indie punk trio, all women of color, is comprised of singer-guitarist Stephanie Phillips, bassist Estella Adeyeri and drummer Chardine Taylor-Stone. They’re getting critical praise for their sound, which is classic girl-group pop like The Ronettes fused with riot grrrl punk rock like The Breeders.

 

The art gallery in the William Way LGBT Community Center has been temporarily transformed into a time machine of sorts, thanks to its current exhibition.

“Black Trans Futuristic” features the work of six artists: Jamie Grace Alexander, Wriply M. Bennet, Shanel Edwards, Devyn Farries, Myx Omiya Isa and Essa Terick, aka Tahnee. The contributors are people of color from throughout the African diaspora, as well as being trans, queer, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming.

  Nafessa Williams is taking her role as Thunder, the first black lesbian superhero character on television, to heart for the second season of “Black Lightning.”

  Williams plays the openly gay eldest daughter, Anissa. Much to the chagrin of her worried parents, Anissa as Thunder fights crime with her special power of increasing her density to render herself immovable and bulletproof.

Out gay writer-director Marcelo Martinessi’s absorbing drama, “The Heiresses” — Paraguay’s Oscar submission — depicts a period of crisis and change experienced by Chela (Ana Brun) and Chiquita (Margarita Irun), two 60-something lesbians. At that start of the film, the house the couple share is being deaccessioned; they are selling off their possessions to raise money.

The reason for this sale is eventually revealed: Chiquita is going to prison for fraud. This situation depresses Chela, who is concerned friends and neighbors will discover this shameful truth. Chela’s drab and sad life changes, however, when her neighbor, Pituca (María Martis), asks her to drive her to a card game. During one of these trips, Chela meets Angy (Ana Ivanova), a sultry younger beauty, and becomes smitten with her. When Chela gives Angy rides — and the women bond over cigarettes and sunglasses — she becomes reawakened to life.

Actress Ana Brun gives a remarkable performance as a woman who comes to find a sense of liberation and self-worth. The actress is incredibly expressive, whether she’s observing her surroundings during her prison visits to Chiquita, staring almost vacantly through her car windshield, or secretly ogling Angy at various moments. Martinessi also draws viewers into the drama by using both muted and vivid colors, and shooting the characters in an intimate style that practically eavesdrops on their lives. This is a slow film that rewards patient viewers.

“The Heiresses” is screening once – Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at the PFS Roxy Theater. Don’t miss it! 

“The Best Bad Things”

Katrina Carrasco

Crime fiction

If there is a book with more gender fluidity than this, I haven’t seen it. Protagonist Alma Rosales can change into any shape she likes. For a large part of this story, she presents herself as Jack Camp, a rough dockworker looking for work. In reality, she’s a former Pinkerton’s investigator.

All Tchaikovsky

The Philadelphia Orchestra performs a program celebrating the classic composer’s music, Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Kimmel’s Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St.; 215-893-1999.

Arte Povera: Homage to Amalfi ’68

Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition recreating one artist’s reactionary exhibition against minimalism and pop art, through July, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100.

Well, the holidays are over and it’s now time for the post New Year slump. The time when the skies are often overcast and gray and the days stretch on as we look out the window, trying to catch a glimpse of sun or perhaps a brilliant snowfall.

If the Freshman 15 is a real thing, then so is the Christmas 12, the number of pounds I seem to gain over the 12 days of Christmas.

For me, it’s not close enough to spring for me to start panicking, but for many people the best way to keep the weight down and spirits up is to exercise.

With its dark, modern, colorful, psychedelic and nightclub-ish aesthetic, Ardiente, at first glance, looks more like a place you would end your weekend evening instead of starting your day.

Hey, maybe some of you roll into brunch with a tad of a hangover, or in the midst of a walk of shame, and too much daylight in that fragile but hungry state isn’t your thing. We get it. We’re not here to judge … too much.

MOVEMENTS WITH A PURPOSE: Martha Graham Dance Company, one of the oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance companies on the planet, comes to Philly to perform “EVE Project,” a program by all-female choreographers commemorating the upcoming centennial of the 19th Amendment, Jan. 25-26 at Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-898-3900.

 

Mt. Airy author Janet Mason is well known on the Philadelphia literary circuit and within the local LGBTQ community for her provocative writing that includes poetry, memoir and fiction. Her last book, “Tea Leaves,” won the Golden Crown Literary Award for lesbian memoir.

Mason’s new novel is set primarily in biblical times. “THEY: A Biblical Tale of Secret Genders” (Adelaide Books, $22) is quite different from Mason’s other work. The novel details the story of Tamar of the Hebrew Bible and a twin sister Tabitha, Tabitha’s intersex twins and the dawning of the concept of defining male gender as preferential, along with the concept of gender as finite — two genders with no variants.

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