Arts & Culture

The Philadelphia Film Festival opens Oct. 17 with a screening of “Just Mercy” and unspools at various locations throughout the city before closing Oct. 27 with a screening of “Knives Out.” In between are more than 100 features, shorts and documentaries, including several films with LGBTQ content. Below is a rundown of what to catch at this year’s fest.

Few events in the life of a comedian equal the recording of a debut album. Out stand-up Samantha Ruddy will reach that milestone later this month, and she’s chosen Philadelphia’s Good Good Comedy Theatre for the occasion. Material for the album will be captured during two sets at the Chinatown venue on Oct. 11.

The hypnotic gay romance “End of the Century” is the best film of the year. Opening Oct. 4 at Landmark’s Ritz at the Bourse, it begins when Ocho (Juan Barberini) arrives in Barcelona, eventually hooking up with the irresistible Javi (Ramon Pujol). Their tryst is erotic but becomes more complicated when Javi says, “We’ve met before.” Cut to 20 years earlier when Ocho and Javi (still played by Barberini and Pujol) first meet. A third part of the film considers a possible future for the characters.

Spooky and scary and fun, oh my! That’s how I would describe one of my favorite places, the Eastern State Penitentiary. I love the place year-round because of their support for progressive causes, but at this time of year, the penitentiary really comes alive — by way of the dead. For its annual event, Terror Behind the Walls, ESP hires hundreds of actors to portray a myriad of characters throughout the grounds. I corralled Senior Operations Area Manager Luis Santiago, who took me through a maze of winding corridors until we landed in a quiet space not open to the public to speak about what’s in store for this year’s event.

IN THE BALLET BEGINNING

Acclaimed Philadelphia dance company, Philadanco, performs its most requested ballet, “Genesis,” with alumni guest artist Leslie Odom Jr. joining the ensemble for Saturday’s show, Oct. 5-6 at Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets call 215-893-1999.

History shows how evil Roy Cohn really was. Described as “flamboyant” and “ruthless,” Cohn was a lawyer who helped send Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to their deaths; made a name for himself as Chief Counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy; defended mafia kingpins, and had a protégé in Donald Trump. He even lost the Lionel train empire after taking it over. He never admitted he was a homosexual or that he had contracted AIDS.

 

Innovative and provocative rapper Tyler, the Creator has been “coming out” as gay or bisexual since his 2017 album, “Scum Fuck Flower Boy,” with the track “I Ain’t Got Time!” and the line “I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004.”

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