Arts & Culture

Late last year, chef, TV personality and Philadelphia native Anthony Marini opened his newest restaurant, rarest, within luxury-apartment complex AKA Washington Square — the perfect place for the modern upscale American menu Marini has put together.

“Julieta,” opening Jan. 13 at Ritz Theatres, has the often-outrageous gay filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar working in a more restrained mode. This drama, based on three short stories by Alice Munro — “Chance,” “Soon” and “Silence” — features the title character played by two different women: Adriana Ugarte is the young Julieta and Emma Suárez is the older Julieta. The conceit works well as this story crosses time and plays with issues of identity. However, some of the connections Almodóvar wants to make require viewers to fill in the blanks.

When I worked at Sisters, I’d hear the usual grousing people do in this city and I’d always warn, “Philadelphia is one of the few cities with a lesbian bar open seven days a week with a bar and dance floor. Some day this might not be here and then you’ll wish you’d been more supportive!”

Self-image plays an outsized role in the development of LGBT identities. Gay people have traditionally been at a disadvantage at developing a strong sense of self because, until recently, we haven’t had societally approved roles against which we could measure ourselves. As such, we’ve had to invent ourselves as we go along, keenly conscious of both how the world perceives us and how we perceive ourselves.

 

Last December, performance artist Cassils came to Philadelphia to perform their solo live performance piece, “Melt/Carve/Forge,” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The one-performance-only event was in conjunction with a multi-media exhibit of photography, video and sculpture by Cassils that PAFA is featuring until March 5.

In the last year, you might have seen out comedian, writer and actor Judy Gold on popular TV shows like “Two Broke Girls,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Louie,” The Jim Gaffigan Show,” “Difficult People” and “Search Party.”

As any regular reader knows, I love this city. I’ve lived here long enough to remember when we were a punchline to a W.C. Fields joke and am pleased to have seen the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection grow from a place where your biggest culinary decisions were Pat’s or Geno’s to a highly regarded hub for top chefs and restaurants. We are a thriving metropolis that has been host to both the RNC and the DNC as well as countless festivals and major events. This month we put another feather in our bonnet (sorry, I’ve been watching the “Downton Abbey” marathon) as we host the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference. This marks the 27th year for the event, which is considered the premier political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBT social-justice movement. With an expected attendance of thousands, the event promises daylong institutes, trainings in the Leadership Academy, workshops for faith leaders and organizers and much more. All in all, there will be approximately 250 workshops and caucus sessions; four keynote plenary sessions; worship gatherings; film screenings; meetings; receptions and social events; and a multitude of opportunities for attendees to meet with and learn from each other.

LAST CALL FOR REVOLUTION: Philadelphia Museum of Art presents “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-50,” offering a deep look at the forces that shaped modern art in Mexico. The exhibition features masterpieces by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo and many others and runs through Jan. 8, 26th Street and the Parkway. For more information, call 215-763-8100.

The inspiring new documentary “The Bad Kids,” directed by married filmmakers Lou Pepe (a Philly native) and Keith Fulton, opens Jan. 13 at the AMC Loews Cherry Hill. The film chronicles a year in the life of the students, faculty and administration of Black Rock High School, an alternative public school in California at which kids study and graduate at their own pace. Fulton and Pepe focus on several of the school’s 120 students, following three in particular: Joey, whose mother is a drug user, and her son is following in her footsteps; Lee, a teenage father, whose girlfriend also attends Black Rock; and Jennifer, who has been sexually abused by her grandmother’s partner. 

PARTY LIKE IT’S 1995: The end of 2016 goes up in smoke when alt-rock/ska band Sublime with Rome rocks the joint for New Year’s Eve, 10 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Event Center, 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia. For more information or tickets, call 610-354-8118.

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