Arts & Culture

Out gay cinematographer and filmmaker PJ Raval is coming to Philadelphia to present and discuss his 2018 documentary “Call Her Ganda.” The film recounts the 2014 murder of Filipino transwoman Jennifer Laude by Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton.

Raval examines the human-rights abuses and media frenzy that transpired, as well as the impact this case had. It ignited trans-community activism and a demand for justice in a system designed to protect Americans.

Flow State CoffeeBar is an awesome little café on Frankford Avenue that’s lesbian-owned and operated.

A bright space with a beautiful, whimsical mural spanning the side wall, Flow State is for everyone. Need a place to sit and get some work done but tired of feeling obligated to drink a gallon of coffee to justify taking a seat? Here you can lease the chair for $12 for three hours and it comes with a cup of coffee and a pastry.

The café is the brainchild of three dynamic women: married couple Melanie and Liz Diamond-Manlusoc and friend Maggie Lee. I spoke with Lee over scoops of guava cinnamon gelato.

Jazz legend and international disco sensation Andy Kahn splits his time between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, but still found time to pen a musical memoir.

In “The Hot Shot Heard ’Round the World” — named for his legendary 1978 dance hit “Hot Shot” — the proudly out Kahn presents a warts-and-all showcase of the music business, the gay disco scene, Philadelphia and beyond.

The author is scheduled to speak, play and sign his truth at Shakespeare & Co. on April 18.

The filmmakers behind documentaries about gay icons like “I Am Divine,” “Tab Hunter Confidential” and “The Fabulous Allan Carr” are getting their ducks in a row for their latest project — a documentary about the film “Showgirls.” 

The 1995 film, written by Joe Eszterhas and directed by Paul Verhoeven, is about an ambitious drifter and topless dancer who ruthlessly claws her way to the top of the Las Vegas entertainment scene. For all its hype and exhibition of flesh, it was a box-office bomb that hamstrung a lot of careers for those involved. It later found success as a cult classic and had a very profitable DVD release. 

Still, there aren’t too many people singing the film’s supposedly unsung praises. Perhaps we weren’t looking in the right places.

 A community holistic wellness center last week celebrated its relocation into the heart of the Gayborhood by opening its first art exhibition.

Emerge Wellness is a psychotherapy agency that focuses on gay-affirming approaches to mental health. In keeping with its holistic approach, Emerge offers treatments that go beyond the standard therapy sessions, such as massage and crystal therapy.

The exhibition features work by 10 Philadelphia-area artists, most of whom are LGBTQ. It explores the ideas of personal growth and self-actualization.

SYNC-ED UP: Pop/R&B singer and superstar Justin Timberlake brings his “Man of the Woods Tour” back to Philly, 7:30 p.m. April 9 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-389-9543.

The Philly POPS are getting into the swing of spring with “Cole Porter’s Broadway: Too Darn Hot,” a tribute to the legendary gay composer, songwriter and Broadway icon. 

Philly native and musician David Charles Abell will guest-conduct the performances, which run April 12-14 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The shows also will feature guest vocal appearances by jazz stylist Catherine Russell and Broadway stars Lisa Vroman and Ben Davis.

In a chat with PGN from his home in London, Abell said he discovered and became enamored with Porter’s music back in an era when finding music was a more complicated task.

I recently had a chance to go into the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the first time. It’s a lovely building and currently housing “Long Light” — an exhibition featuring a collection of photographs from David Lebe.

The exhibition showcases 145 photographs beautifully displayed to honor his different styles developed over five decades. It includes his powerful representations of gay experience and living with AIDS.

Lebe’s experiments with light and paper are beautiful and haunting. His series of pinhole photography shows what can be done with a little ingenuity and a lot of creativity. His skills as an artist and technician are matched by the raw emotion captured in his photographs.

Mexico-born artist Ada Trillo had her first exhibition at the Rittenhouse area’s Twenty-Two Gallery in 2017. The inspiration came from her homeland: drug-addicted Mexican sex workers at the “intersection of sympathy, dignity, and hope.”

The black-and-white photographs lent each subject an elegance of line and an air of regality. Since that time, Trillo’s work has been included in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Two years later, with “Chasing Freedom: Migrant Caravan Portraits,” the Philadelphia-based Trillo moves her lens to the currency of life along the U.S.-Mexico border. Here, she continues to find love and dignity among the ruins; a sense of intimacy among the South and Central American refugees.

 The controversy surrounding the 1980 film “Cruising” — a psychological thriller about a serial killer preying on gay men in 1970s New York City — will probably never die.

But the original soundtrack lives on — and has actually gotten new life with a recently expanded re-release on the Waxwork label across three vinyl LPs.

The re-release offers music that never made it onto the originally released 1980 soundtrack, including five rare Germs songs recorded specifically for the album. It also has a new leather-faced cover that’s sure to arouse curiosity.

Set in 1979 Paris and in the gay-porn world, “Knife+Heart,” opening April 5 at the Landmark Ritz at the Bourse, is a cheeky queer thriller. Not only is director/co-writer Yann Gonzalez’s tongue planted firmly in cheek — his film features comic porno humor — but he also takes some real chances, most of which pay off.

The film opens with a sequence that cross-cuts between sex and death. Fouad (Khaled Alouach) is an adult-film star who meets an untimely end when a masked man ties him to a bed, strips him naked and murders him with a dildo that doubles as a knife.

DANCING IN THE DARK: Blaqk Audio, the synth-pop/EDM side project by AFI members Davey Havok and Jade Puget, gets a gothic groove on with a tour in support of its latest album, “Only Thing We Love,” which hits Philly 8 p.m. March 30 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St. For more information or tickets, call 215-627-1332.

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