Arts & Culture

Lori Schreiber was the first openly gay elected official in Montgomery County. Currently running for Clerk of Courts, if she wins this year, she will be the first gay “Row Officer” in Pennsylvania. 

 Eric Ulloa didn’t set out to stage the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. 

“All I knew was I was growing tired of complacency and frustrated by what was happening in the world and in our country,” the out playwright said.

To most audiences, LGBTQ or otherwise, long-haired Jonathan Van Ness is an out, style/social-consciousness icon whose talents as a hairdresser and tonsorial-grooming expert on the Netflix series “Queer Eye” — the surprisingly poignant reboot of the Bravo network’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” — are only surpassed by his instincts regarding magnanimity and public spirit. 

Perhaps it is that very same intuition that makes him a dynamic podcaster (à la “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness”) and universally loved stand-up comedian who came for his first comedy gig in Philadelphia at Upper Darby’s Tower Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 28.

A production of “The Bridges of Madison County” recently opened in Philadelphia, presented by the Philadelphia Theatre Company. I had only seen clips of the movie. And I have to admit based on that, I didn’t realize that the play was a musical — a Tony-Award winning musical at that. That was until they introduced the conductor, Amanda Morton, before the show began. The show features soaring ballads and a super-cool set.

James Ijames is exhausted, and rightly so. 

“If I’m going to do something, I’m putting my heart and soul into it,” he said.

Fatigue is part of the equation of being in theater, and the out Philadelphia performer and playwright understands it all too well as he wraps up one project and gets another underway.

As his play “Youth” completes its run at Villanova University (where he’s also an assistant professor of theater), Ijames has been rehearsing actors at the Arden Theatre Company for his adaptation of August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean.”

Two relatively new Indian restaurants are offering a deliciously varied reprieve in the culinary glut of Old City.   

Compared to other area eateries, Indian Grill, 114 Chestnut St., has a basic, almost-austere aesthetic. But the menu shines as brightly as the restaurant’s lighting.

On a recent visit, the mirchi pakora ($5.75) started the meal on a spicy note.

 Just in time for the Academy Awards, a heartfelt short film is generating much buzz among LGBT audiences and critics.

 “Marguerite” is a French-language short about the friendship between an aging woman (the title character, played by Béatrice Picard) and her out lesbian nurse (played by Sandrine Bisson), whose conversations unearth a long-forgotten love story that helps the elderly patient make peace with her past.

 

Out alternative rocker Bob Mould is on the road with a new album, and a date in Philadelphia.

As an icon of alternative rock with bands like Hüsker Dü and Sugar to his credit, Mould said his latest release, “Sunshine Rock,” is an effort steer his sound and songwriting in a more positive direction than his prior albums.

The annual Grammy Awards show is always too long and inevitably has moments of “wait– who just won?”

The 61st Grammys on Sunday night were no different. But what made this show so good, was the plethora of phenomenal women, queer performers and the hosting perfection of Alicia Keys.

 Out indie pop singer-songwriter morgxn is ready to make an impression on 2019 with a string of live shows and a stash of innovative singles and videos.

Born and raised in Nashville as Morgan Karr, morgxn moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting, then to Los Angeles for music.

Karr said that even though he’s more of an electronic pop, dance and R&B artist, the more organic and traditional styles of Nashville influenced his style and tastes as a musician. 

 The term “diva” is so dreadfully overused to characterize a woman who is considered petty or difficult that its true meaning has gotten lost.

In the film “Maria by Callas,” released briefly in theaters in November and due out this weekend on DVD and BluRay, director Tom Volf provides a love letter of never-before-seen footage and performances and paints the portrait of what a diva was and is, on stage and off: 20th-Century opera legend Maria Callas.

On a winter night with temperatures dropping into the single digits, there’s nothing better than curling up in front of the fire with a good book. (I don’t exactly have a fireplace here in the city, but I found a great YouTube video of a crackling fireplace. And with enough imagination, I could almost feel the warmth and smell the burning logs.) My book of choice: “When I Was Your Girlfriend” by Nikki Harmon.

I’ve known Harmon for a while, but as a filmmaker, not a novelist. She warned me that it was a light but enjoyable read. It did not disappoint.

 

Bass-vocalist Brent Michael Smith is but a neophyte when it comes to Philadelphia, having moved here two years ago to go on “this journey of artistic growth at the Academy of Vocal Arts,” as he puts it.

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