Arts & Culture

Perception of self is an important component of daily life. It is perhaps one of the most essential factors that guides and influences our ability to function, to interact with the world. And for gay people, queerness often adds many additional layers of meaning and complication to how an individual perceives the world at large and the culture in which our society functions.

“This job — it’s so much fun,” enthused Laszlo Major. “I mean, it’s really fun to work for this company.”

Of course, the three hours it takes to dress for work, plus the three hours to undress, can make for some long days. Every job, no matter how much fun, has its ups and downs — even when you’re a dancer for Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

“Just like saying ‘That’s so gay’ or calling someone ‘queer’ — when used in a derogatory manner — the word ‘sissy’ is often used to demean someone by linking them to femininity. In our culture, the definition of ‘feminine’ is ‘has sex with men’: Straight women and gay men are considered feminine. The definition of ‘masculinity’ is ‘has sex with women’: Straight men and lesbians are considered masculine.”—

Cyd Ziegler

This week’s subject, J. Nathan Bazzel, has had it with stereotypes and the shame that comes with them. His long journey brought him to a point where he has proudly embraced his identity as a receptive male in a society that often shames people into silence. He’s looking to change all that.

CANNONBALLING IN SWAN LAKE: Ballet enthusiast and novices alike will delight in the gracefully comedic dance styles of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a troupe of men in tutus doing send-ups of classical ballet numbers with hilarious results, March 8-12 at Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-569-9700.

Out French screenwriter (and frequent director) Céline Sciamma excels at making coming-of-age films.

Her latest, the Oscar-nominated animated film, “My Life as a Zucchini,” joins her previous adolescent tales “Water Lilies,” “Tomboy,” “Girlhood” and “Being Seventeen.”

Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrated a month before Passover, features revelers in costume — often cross-dressing — drinking and performing comedy. And this year, on March 9, the Gershman Y is having a fabulous Purim Party featuring the Schlep Sisters, Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda, who will perform their unique brand of Jewish burlesque. Philadelphia’s own DJ Robert Drake spins ’80s songs as part of the evening’s dance party.

Situated across the street from Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room, Pinefish is really giving off an Antiques Row vibe.

The comfortable and retro psychedelic aesthetic comes across more like a hookah lounge than a seafood restaurant but it works, whether one is there for an informal happy hour for $1 oysters and clams or for a full dinner in the form of Pinefish’s three- or four-course prix-fixe winter lobster menu.

MARTHA GRAHAM CRACKER RAMPS IT UP: Legendary Philadelphia performer Martha Graham Cracker leads a “Full Access” show with accessible accommodations, enabling people with disabilities to experience the force of her balls-to-the-wall drag performance, 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. For more information or tickets, call 215-413-1318.

Knock on wood, Philadelphia has escaped the threat of a storm-filled winter, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still jonesing for a taste of spring. Enter the Philadelphia Flower Show, our annual gift to the world,where Philly gets to show off its softer side. This week’s Portrait is expat Carrie Preston, landscape designer extraordinaire who will be exhibiting at this year’s show. She spoke to me from her current home in Holland — also the theme for the show.

Pioneering out rock band Boys’ Entrance is releasing a double album this month entitled “Tunnelvision.” The queer rock opera set in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic centers on openly gay rocker Tim and his tumultuous relationship with a closeted fan, Troy, which quickly spirals into a roller coaster of break-ups and make-ups, drugs, alien encounters and one of the men becoming a rent boy.

In theater circles in the U.K. and U.S., Tim Levy is a living legend.

After having hit after hit on New York City’s Great White Way with Brit imports, the producer at London’s acclaimed National Theatre opened an American branch of the company, creating a direct pipeline where he could oversee touring American productions of English stage sensations, and returning such favor with U.S.-to-U.K. shows. Levy’s newest event is “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which rolls out at the Academy of Music starting Feb. 28, at the tail end of the Free Library’s One Book One Philadelphia program.

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