Arts & Culture

In June 1969, a small group of social misfits, outcasts and pariahs had had enough.

The watering hole in which they were socializing among themselves, not hurting anyone, was being raided by the police — yet again. Out of frustration and anger, some of these people fought back. The watering hole was New York’s Stonewall Inn, and the resultant altercation escalated into a three-day riot that sparked the modern gay-rights movement.

And who was in the forefront of the Stonewall Riots, manning the barricades, fighting tear gas with mockery and chorus lines, standing up to police in riot gear?

Drag queens.

When Philadelphia Theatre Company premieres “How to Catch Creation” March 22, playwright Christina Anderson’s work will be a debut of another sort for the Broad Street troupe.

PTC and its producing artistic director, Paige Price, are the first in the United States to make an annual pledge to produce at least one work per season from The Kilroys list — started in 2017 to identify new and under-produced plays exclusively by female, trans and nonbinary writers, such as Anderson.

GLAM FOR A CAUSE: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Roxxxy Andrews headlines “Love, Lipstick and Lashes,” a drag show benefiting the American Cancer Society. The show features performers from the Delmarva region, 7 p.m. March 16 at The Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del. For more information or tickets, call 202-730-3331.

Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying at the scary, dysfunctional and outright stupid state of American politics these days. Luckily for us, a new podcast is trying to find the humor in the maelstrom.

“Let’s Get Civical,” hosted by New York City-based comedian Lizzie Stewart and gay political strategist Arden Walentowski, is equal parts civics class and comedy show. The duo is making it its mission to break down all the political action into easily understandable morsels.

Philadelphia has a long history with film. Long before Hollywood, there was the Lubinville Studio on 20th Street (1911), Thomas Edison opened the first film company across the Delaware River, and the steadicam was invented in this area. In addition, several classics were filmed in Philly. With the Women’s Film Festival through March 23 and the upcoming qFLIX, Philly’s film culture continues.

Philadelphia’s LGBTQ film festival will screen more than 100 features, documentaries and shorts during its weeklong run March 25-31. Among this year’s qFLIX offerings are several local-interest titles, as well as appearances by filmmakers.

One of the opening films is the world premiere of Philly-set-and-shot romance “From Zero to I Love You.” This glossy drama, written and directed by Doug Spearman, has the married-with-kids Jack Dickinson (Scott Bailey) unexpectedly falling for Pete Logsdon (Darryl Stephens). Their relationship, which includes sex on the down low, comes to an expected head when Pete wants Jack to leave his wife, Karla (Keili Lefkovitz).

 It’s been a tough week for the millions of fans of Michael Jackson, an iconic figure in American music, often referred to as “The King of Pop.” A month after the six-hour Lifetime documentary “Surviving R Kelly” resulted in R&B singer R Kelly being arrest on sexual assault charges and held on $1 million bail, HBO has aired a 236-minute documentary, “Leaving Neverland.”

CRACKING IT UP: Out cabaret singer and Philly superstar Martha Graham Cracker performs a special BYOB show, “Lashed But Not Unleashed,” an evening of original songs delivered with her usual over-the-top flair, March 14-16 at The Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio, 300 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-893-1999. Photo: Gustavo Garcia

Nishta J. Mehra is a first-generation American, the daughter of Indian immigrants who was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn. She now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., with her wife, who is white, and her adopted child, who is black.

In her new book of essays, “Brown White Black,” she paints a vivid picture of their experiences dealing with America’s rigid ideas of race, gender and sexuality, as well as her family’s daily struggle to make space for itself amid increasing social and idealistic divisions in society.

Places, everyone, places! The Women’s Film Festival is about to kick off its fifth year of presenting 10 days of films “By, for and about women.”

This year’s festival opens March 14 at The Kimmel Center with “This Changes Everything,” a documentary about gender equality in media that features a who’s-who of prominent women in the film industry, including Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Shonda Rhimes, Sandra Oh, Reese Witherspoon, Taraji P. Henson, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett.

 If laughter is the best medicine, a new queer comedy series is ready to write prescriptions and let the healing begin.

A diverse lineup of out comedians recently brought its collective sense of humor to the small screen for “OUT on Stage,” a new live comedy showcase on Dekkoo, the streaming service for gay men.

 If only Ondi Timoner’s ambitious biopic, “Mapplethorpe,” was as stimulating as the titular artist’s work.

This disappointing film, opening March 8 at Landmark’s Ritz at the Bourse, never quite captures his essence. There is more feeling and emotion in his images of calla lilies and penises — images graciously loaned from the artist’s foundation, and prominently featured throughout the film — than there is in the actual drama that unfolds.

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