Arts & Culture

 We generally are lured out to King of Prussia to sample its culinary offerings in places that serve upscale comfort dishes in massive and visually stunning, expertly decorated spaces.

Our destination this time was J. Alexander’s, 256 Mall Blvd. Part of the nationwide contemporary American wood-fired cuisine chain, the eatery fits the area perfectly. The spacious, dimly lit venue delivers suburban charm with lots of dark wood, shiny surfaces and comfortable seating.

Creators of a musical to be staged in Philadelphia later this month took the contemporary abortion debate, with its economic and socio-political weight and its issues of misogyny and hypocrisy, and made it sing.

For at least three years, the Philly performance company Lightning Rod Special (LRS) has operated on the premise that the abortion debate and a woman’s right to control her own body could be put to music and a dark, satirical script. “The Appointment” is the result of that premise, and will premiere at the FringeArts High Pressure Fire Service Festival on March 20.

 

When it comes to musical theater with a huge vocal presence, if you’re calling in Michael LaFleur, you must mean business.

The out, live-show theater specialist behind razzle-dazzling large-scale showcases for Disney and Universal theme parks, as well as individual shows for Celine Dion and Sarah Brightman, knows how to transform something intimate into something with wide-scale appeal. He also understands the intricacies of dealing with divas.

 It has been a decade — International Women’s Day 2009, to be exact — since the final episode of “The L Word” aired on Showtime. Throughout six seasons, the groundbreaking series was the first to ever center lesbian and bisexual women.

And after 10 long, lesbian-less years, “The L Word” is coming back. 

OUT-LOUD LAUGHS: Comedians Frank Liotti, Jess Soloman and Eman El-Husseini converge upon the Bristol for the Out of the Closet Comedy Show, a night of queer comedy talent, 7:30-9 p.m. March 7 at The Comedy Works located in Georgine’s Restaurant, 1320 Newport Rd., Bristol, Pa. For more information or tickets, call 215-741-1661.

 Pet Shop Boys

“Agenda”

x2 Recordings Ltd.

www.petshopboys.co.uk

On this four-song EP, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, longtime purveyors of an alluringly aloof disco, lampoon boorish politicians, skewer social media and excoriate oligarchs. The duo’s synthesizer-driven dance music and literate lyrics combine to make protest songs that are satirical rather than sincere, which is good.

Lori Schreiber was the first openly gay elected official in Montgomery County. Currently running for Clerk of Courts, if she wins this year, she will be the first gay “Row Officer” in Pennsylvania. 

 Eric Ulloa didn’t set out to stage the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. 

“All I knew was I was growing tired of complacency and frustrated by what was happening in the world and in our country,” the out playwright said.

To most audiences, LGBTQ or otherwise, long-haired Jonathan Van Ness is an out, style/social-consciousness icon whose talents as a hairdresser and tonsorial-grooming expert on the Netflix series “Queer Eye” — the surprisingly poignant reboot of the Bravo network’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” — are only surpassed by his instincts regarding magnanimity and public spirit. 

Perhaps it is that very same intuition that makes him a dynamic podcaster (à la “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness”) and universally loved stand-up comedian who came for his first comedy gig in Philadelphia at Upper Darby’s Tower Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 28.

A production of “The Bridges of Madison County” recently opened in Philadelphia, presented by the Philadelphia Theatre Company. I had only seen clips of the movie. And I have to admit based on that, I didn’t realize that the play was a musical — a Tony-Award winning musical at that. That was until they introduced the conductor, Amanda Morton, before the show began. The show features soaring ballads and a super-cool set.

James Ijames is exhausted, and rightly so. 

“If I’m going to do something, I’m putting my heart and soul into it,” he said.

Fatigue is part of the equation of being in theater, and the out Philadelphia performer and playwright understands it all too well as he wraps up one project and gets another underway.

As his play “Youth” completes its run at Villanova University (where he’s also an assistant professor of theater), Ijames has been rehearsing actors at the Arden Theatre Company for his adaptation of August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean.”

Two relatively new Indian restaurants are offering a deliciously varied reprieve in the culinary glut of Old City.   

Compared to other area eateries, Indian Grill, 114 Chestnut St., has a basic, almost-austere aesthetic. But the menu shines as brightly as the restaurant’s lighting.

On a recent visit, the mirchi pakora ($5.75) started the meal on a spicy note.

 Just in time for the Academy Awards, a heartfelt short film is generating much buzz among LGBT audiences and critics.

 “Marguerite” is a French-language short about the friendship between an aging woman (the title character, played by Béatrice Picard) and her out lesbian nurse (played by Sandrine Bisson), whose conversations unearth a long-forgotten love story that helps the elderly patient make peace with her past.

Find us on Facebook
Follow Us
Find Us on YouTube
Find Us on Instagram
Sign Up for Our Newsletter