Arts & Culture

“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.

The 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show is rapidly approaching, and as I did my research for this week’s column, I noticed the words “exciting,” “vibrant,” “colorful” and “fun” - all of which would be apt for this year’s theme, “Flower Power.” But in this case, the words weren’t describing the flowers on display, but rather the personality of this week’s Portrait, Michael Bowell. A gardener by vocation and avocation, Bowell has become a staple in the horticultural community — known for his infectious spirit, generosity and expertise in the plant world.

Mauckingbird Theatre Company, Philadelphia’s gay-themed theater group, is kicking off 2019 with its unique take on Noël Coward’s comedy “Fallen Angels,” through Jan. 27 at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake.

Set in London during the 1920s, the original play centers on two women who have been married to their husbands for five years and find their tranquil lives disrupted when a former lover, with whom both were previously involved, plans to visit from France. The women’s anticipation sets off events that come to a head once the former lover arrives in the flesh.


When Philadelphia-born playwright Clifford Odets’ “Awake and Sing!” begins its run Jan. 23 with Mt. Airy’s Quintessence Theatre Group at The Sedgwick, it will be not only a show of 20th century theatrical, socio-conscious finesse and force, but also proof that Alexander Burns — the out, longtime artistic director of Quintessence — knows how to merge the ideals of classic theater of the past with the necessities of the present.

I’ve mentioned in my column before that I’m a couch potato sports enthusiast. I can watch anything from curling to rhythmic gymnastics (I actually kind of miss them), but my favorite sport is football. Perhaps it was the many years I spent as my older brother’s tackle dummy, or sitting in the freezing cold bleachers watching him score on an exciting flea flicker play. Whatever it was, I learned the ins and outs of the game pretty well. I’m excited about the Eagles making the playoffs. Hopefully, they will go far. But if not, I will rest easy knowing that my football fever will have another outlet: The Philadelphia Phantomz. The Phantomz are a full-contact, women’s football team that is part of The Women’s Football Alliance ( Boasting almost 70 teams, WFA is the largest and most competitive women’s tackle football league in the world. The league is in recruiting mode right now, as it looks for new players for the start of the season in the spring. We spoke to one of the starting players, Amanda Avvento, as she was on her way to a winter practice session in the cold.

With its proximity to the stadiums and arenas of South Philly, you’d probably expect SOMO SoPhi, 3101 S. 13th St., to be just another sports bar with a restaurant as a distant second in priority. Well, read on, intrepid foodies. 

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