Arts & Culture

UNTAMED MELODIES: Philly cabaret star Dito van Reigersberg unleashes a new show as his alter ego Martha Graham Cracker in “Lashed But Not Leashed,” a musical fever-dream featuring original songs, through March 18 at the Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio, 300 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-893-1999. Photo: Kevin Monko

One of the highlights of this year’s qFLIX is gay writer/director Russell Brown’s enjoyable ensemble comedy “Search Engines.” The film, which plays noon March 18 at Prince Theatre, has 15 characters in an extended family meeting for a Thanksgiving meal. They are all having trouble, both in life and with their cell phones, and their collective situations force everyone to communicate in real time, offline. 

Ten years ago, Stephin Merritt told me, “I do a lot of conventional things, but I don’t do them conventionally.” That makes sense considering Merritt’s newest The Magnetic Fields recording, “50 Song Memoir,” with his longtime musical partner Claudia Gonson.

HA-HA IN HEELS: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum and comedian Bob the Drag Queen brings the jokes to Philadelphia 7 p.m. March 12 at The Punchline Philly, 33 E. Laurel St. For more information or tickets, call 215-606-6555.

Greetings, film fanciers and fanatics. March is finally here and this year it brings not one but two incredible film festivals to our fair city: qFLIX Philadelphia, our beloved LGBT film festival, and The Women’s Film Festival of Philadelphia. And since both festivals are playing the exact same weekend, in the spirit of our City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, organizers have collaborated on many of the films being presented. I in turn decided to share this column and interview directors from both festivals.

A lot of dancers begin their creeds being gypsies. They start with school — if they’re lucky, they have one in or near their hometown — and then there are usually transfers to larger or more prestigious schools elsewhere. Then, of course, there is the search for work. Sometimes dancers sign on for short-term gigs with a series of companies domestically or internationally in search of a good fit both personally and artistically.

One of the centerpiece films at QFlix this year is writer/director/star Brandon Ruckdashel’s “Grinder.” Not to be confused with the popular dating app, this low-budget film has the ambitious teen Luke (Tyler Austin) wanting to be a male model. He arrives in New York and meets Rick (the terrific Jon Fleming), a sinister agent whose main photographer, Tim (Ruckdashel), is coming to terms with his sexuality. How the men’s lives and sexualities play out make up this intriguing film.

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