Arts & Culture

Openly gay Canadian playwright Morris Panych mines some unlikely humor out of the subjects of illness, death and loneliness in “Vigil,” presented by Lantern Theater Company through June 12.

A favorite institution in Philadelphia is celebrating a birthday May 27. The 12th Street Gym has been a place where people from all walks of life, gay and straight, have gone to transform their lives and bodies, meet friends old and new. Not just a gym, it is part of the Camac Center, which boasts a hair salon, holistic services, massage (our favorite) and the children’s gym, where you can send the little ones before, after and during school hours. They even have a psychic reader. For the 25th anniversary, we spoke with owner Rick Piper.

Once again, PGN has scoured the shelves, sifted through the galleys and reviewed the press releases until we came upon books that we hoped would be of interest to you, dear reader.

Philadelphia is well-documented as having a major influence on the world of music. The rich operatic voices of Marian Anderson and Mario Lanza, the rock ’n’ roll beats of Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon, the swagger of Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, the strut of Mummers string bands and of course the soulful sounds of Philadelphia International are all part of our vast catalog of music. Philadelphia also boasts an impressive jazz heritage, starting with Chester native Ethel Waters (you club kids probably know her granddaughter, dance diva Crystal Waters), Philly transplants like John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie and including more recent artists like Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Clarke and Jamaaladeen Tacuma.