Arts & Culture

CLICK YOUR HEELS TOGETHER: Out singer-songwriter, choreographer and “American Idol” alum Todrick Hall is hitting the road to promote his “Straight Outta Oz” album and is whirling through town 8 p.m. April 17 at The Fillmore Philadelphia, 29 E. Allen St. For more information or tickets, call 215-625-3681.

“Who knows what’s next musically? Lennie didn’t. And, neither do I.”

It’s 2:30 a.m., and Philadelphia pianist Andy Kahn is talking about fellow jazz pianist Lennie Tristano, whose improvisational melodies and arrangements, though deeply and rivetingly complex (atonal at times), focused on beauty and freedom. From the simplicity of a love song such as “I Surrender Dear” (with lyrics such as “I may seem proud, I may act gay, It’s just a pose, I’m not that way”) to albums such as 1962’s strange, stirring “The New Tristano,” the late pianist-composer is a portrait in risk and unique display.

Groundbreaking rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” returns to Philadelphia April 18-23 at the Forrest Theater.

Adapted from a book written by John Cameron Mitchell and featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, the show breaks the fourth wall as it tells the story of the fictional titular rock band fronted by transgender East German singer Hedwig Robinson. The band follows successful rock star Tommy Gnosis and his tour around the country, playing dive bars and other seedy venues next door to his massive rock concerts.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”

— Simone de Beauvoir

Well, this week’s portrait is determined to help women gain back that confidence. Kathy Pacheco, aka Kitty Devereaux, is the co-producer and host of Sister Bear, a body-positive burlesque show for women. A spinoff of the popular Bearlesque shows, Sister Bear focuses on plus-size women and self-love. Sister Bear is a fun-packed show with “a little extra hubba, hubba.” You can catch the show every first Sunday of the month at Toasted Walnut.

Philadelphia’s all-female aerial dance company Tangle Movement Arts is bringing a collection of queer circus theater stories off the ground with its new show, “Points of Light,” debuting this weekend at Old City’s Neighborhood House.

BURLESQUE BONANZA: More than 50 burlesque artists share the stage and their art for a four-day festival through April 9 at both Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St., and Plays & Players, 1714 Delancey Place. The annual festival will also celebrate the debut of the Sparkle Market from noon-6 p.m. April 9 at Irish Põl, 114 Market St., a showcase of local artists and small businesses. For more information, visit www.phlburlesquefest.eventbrite.com.

Depeche Mode

“Spirit”

Columbia/Mute Records

It’s nothing short of amazing how electro-pop pioneers Depeche Mode has evolved and stayed interesting and ahead of the curve in its 35-plus years of making music. From their early new-wave and synthpop sound, they pushed into industrial and alternative-rock territory by the late 1980s and early ’90s, and then, as the new millennium came and went, into a sound that kept pace with the constant shifts in tastes, all with an admirable level of sophistication. Who else from that genre and the era besides Duran Duran (a comparison we’re pretty sure Depeche Mode is sick of) can still put out albums and tour without being lumped into and packaged on some form of nostalgia circuit? 

As many of you know, I hate working out. Fortunately, I’ve been pretty lucky in the gene pool and it hasn’t taken much to keep me looking like I’m in shape without actually doing a sit-up or donning something made from Lycra. Unfortunately, age is starting to trump genetics and I may have to break down and do something more strenuous than lifting the remote. If anyone could inspire me to do it, it may be this week’s profile.

“The Assignment,” opening April 7 at AMC Cherry Hill, has already upset the trans community for its “high-concept” plot about Dr. Rachel Jane (Sigourney Weaver), performing an unwanted gender-reassignment surgery on hit man Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez).

The uproar, which is not unjustified, concerns two issues: first, that the film’s idea of gender-reassignment surgery is an act of punishment; and second, that the Kitchen character was not played by a trans actress. However, director Walter Hill and co-screenwriter Denis Hamill seem more impressed with the idea of their film than doing any justice to its execution.

 

Michael Riley-Hill found his appreciation of nature growing up in a small town. He was fascinated by architecture and buildings and would spend hours sketching and painting in his youth. Riley-Hill attended Kutztown University, where he developed his talent for painting. His unique method of painting one small area of the canvas at a time was questioned, but ultimately was discovered to be part of his innate talent for detailed paintings.

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