Arts & Culture

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.

With this week’s start of the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition “Long Light | Photographs by David Lebe,” the out, New York-to-Philadelphia transplant puts all of his starkly experimental work and its diverse subject matter into one bushel, shakes it up and comes up with this sobering survey. 

A DIVA DYNASTY: R&B star and TV personality, Toni Braxton, brings her “As Long As I Live Tour” with special guests, SWV, to Atlantic City for a roof-raising performance 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Event Center, 1 Borgata Way. For more information or tickets, call 609-317-1000.

For lovers who want to cuddle up and get romantic this Valentine’s Day, there are hundreds of watch options. While there are classic LGBT romances ranging from heartbreaking (“Brokeback Mountain”) to hopeful (“Desert Hearts”) to delightful (“Go Fish”), here are a dozen newish romantic films, now available on DVD or streaming services, to watch this week.

Polish those boots because it’s almost time for the Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather contest. The annual competition will take place 8-10 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Bike Stop, 206 S. Quince St.

“Pup” Ruckus has judged, staffed and volunteered at many leather and fetish events across North America. Self-described as a smart husky with a true passion for obedience school, he is the past title-holder for Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather.

Hello, thespians and drama kweens! Itching to get your bard on, but don’t have the bucks? You’re in luck.

   From Feb. 7-17, Theatre Philadelphia presents Philly Theatre Week. It’s actually a 10-day celebration of the arts, showcasing more than 100 unique theater events including productions, readings and interactive programs. It’s a great way to check out the growing, vibrant and diverse theater scene in the area. The shows include world and regional premieres, Black History Month and Valentine’s Day-themed events, programs with food and drink, physical theater and dance, regional theater and the classics as well as academic and community performances. Many events are free. Some cost $15 or $30.

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.

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