Arts & Culture

LOVE ON FILM: qFlix hosts a screening of “After Louis,” the acclaimed drama starring Alan Cumming as a queer chain-smoking artist dealing with loss and love in New York City’s Upper West Side, followed by Cumming appearing onstage to receive a lifetime achievement award from qFlix, 8 p.m. March 25 at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-893-1999.

Smoky crooner-arranger Shannon Turner and her pianist-accompanist Lili St. Queer are the saucy-yet-tender “Glitter and Garbage” cabaret show at L’Etage — a shimmering program that seamlessly blends Broadway standards with punk eclecticism as part of their sonic reach, with additional guest drag and burlesque moments.

“I’m an entertainer,” said Turner. “I can carry a tune. I’m able to connect with audiences. I try to make them laugh, to make them feel, and to speak truth.”

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus is partnering with the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus of Ohio to perform “Two Boys Kissing,” based on out gay writer David Levithan’s eponymous novel, in the afternoon and evening of March 24 at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion. Levithan, a New York Times bestselling author, is expected to attend the evening performance.

It’s time for The Women’s Film Festival, with its screen offerings and festive events, including a burlesque performance, dancers from Indonesia, moving films, funny films, documentaries … and they’re not finished yet.

The evening of March 23 brings two films on sex, “The Foursome” and “Bookends,” and several shorts that cover the #MeToo movement, among other topics. On March 25, “The Feels,” starring Constance Wu from “Fresh Off the Boat” alongside a cast of female comedians, will be screened as a joint collaboration with the qFLIX Festival, along with a powerful film on domestic violence called “Blindsided.”

This week, we get to know filmmaker Caryn K. Hayes, originally from New Orleans. Hayes has a passion for storytelling, with fiction published in the New Voices Literary Journal. In 2007, she began producing new media content for Showbiz Shorts and BrevityTV.com, ultimately taking on directing responsibilities at the latter and getting appointed head of production. In 2009, Hayes launched Hardly Working Entertainment to produce her first short film, and got into online content with the popular, award-winning relationship dramedy “Entangled With You.”

 No film festival is complete without film shorts. Film-festival attendees are particularly fond of shorts programs, not just for the entertainment variety, but also because filmmakers worldwide invariably begin their careers with a short, thus providing unique opportunities for new ideas, techniques, writing, cinematography and style.

As one of the shorts programmers for qFLIX this year, my task was to find a group of films that represented the entire LGBTQ community (via the director and/or performers) that filled the allotted time, were reasonably varied enough in content and, of course, provided entertainment. Add in some documentary or educational values, blend with perspectives from around the world, and then wrap it all up with a single word that describes the overall theme.

Meshell Ndegeocello

“Ventriloquism”

Naïve

At first glance, just the song selection on this new all-covers album looks like a dope mix-tape of classic throwback ’80s and ’90s jams. But anyone familiar with Meshell Ndegeocello’s style and idiosyncratic take on neo-soul, R&B and music in general, knows she is going to take the listeners on a unique journey and throw them surprising curves all along the way. And they are all refreshing and amazing.

    Out singer, songwriter and musician Meshell Ndegeocello is back with her latest effort, “Ventriloquism,” a covers album that proudly brandishes unmistakable queer iconography on the cover and features songs — some classic, some a little more obscure — by artists ranging from George Clinton and Sade to Prince and Janet Jackson. 

Hot Bits, the annual DIY queer erotic film and arts festival, is branching out for its second year. Designed to celebrate erotic indie soft and hardcore short films by queer, trans and POC filmmakers and performers, the festival is setting up shop and hosting screenings March 23-24 in Philadelphia, and then taking it on the road for viewings March 31-April 1 in Baltimore. 

Of the hundreds of movies featuring gay teenagers, only a few dozen feature out gay high-schoolers. The upbeat romantic comedy-drama “Love, Simon,” which opens in area theaters March 16, is a mainstream American gay-teen film. It takes a very conventional approach to telling a closeted youth’s coming-out story — and that is not a bad thing.

VIVA HAVANA!: Cuba’s bustling streets and colorful cityscapes come to life on stage through film vignettes and the high-energy movements of DanzAbierta, the pioneering contemporary dance company, March 22-23 at Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-898-3900. 

When Philadelphia thespian Frank X tackles the dual roles of Stephano (the gregarious boozy butler of King Alonso) and Gonzalo (that same king’s honest optimistic adviser) in Lantern Theater Company’s newest iteration of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” the out actor focuses on what he has long done best: clarity.

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