Close-up of hooks speaking out to an audience holding a microphone. Image is in black and white.

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, January 25-31, 2023

Prints honoring bell hooks, more Lunar New Year festivities, film screenings, and more

This week features an exhibit inspired by bell hooks’ poetry, film screenings featuring stories from Iranian and Iraqi perspectives, a play on Jewish emigration in the early 90s, and the Lunar New Year vibrations continue. Kyle V. Hiller rounds up.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Previews 2 minute read
Bechdel in a suit jacket looks over her shoulder at the camera, pencil in hand, comic panels on a wall in front of her.

PBS presents Vivian Kleiman’s No Straight Lines

Documenting the history and future of queer comics

The documentary film chronicles the timeline of queer comics, from Mary Wings to contemporary artists today. Kathryn Smith Pyle previews.
Kathryn Smith Pyle

Kathryn Smith Pyle

Previews 4 minute read
Scallen, Finister, and Robbins pose backstage, standing on a spiral staircase.

1812 Productions and Jennifer Childs present Broads

Legendary “naughty” comedy

1812 Productions presents Broads, a hit cabaret that celebrates the bawdiest, boldest, and funniest ladies of the 1920s through the 1960s. Kiran Pandey previews.
Kiran Pandey

Kiran Pandey

Previews 2 minute read
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Photo of Blavat, in tan baseball hat, with Schaefer, in a red-patterned scarf. They’re smiling with an arm around each other

Legendary DJ Jerry Blavat spun a whole new world for Philly teens in the 1960s

Live from Wagner’s Ballroom

Local music icon Jerry Blavat, a South Philly native, passed away on January 20, 2023. Susan Schaefer remembers how a whole new world opened up when she danced to Blavat’s tunes at Wagner’s Ballroom in the 1960s.
Susan Schaefer

Susan Schaefer

Essays 5 minute read
In profile, a chunky sculpture in beige tones of a nonplussed woman holding a baby with a man’s face in her large hands

The Clay Studio presents Figuring Space

An American self-portrait

A new sculpture exhibition at the Clay Studio features diverse artists from across the country whose figurative works demand a deeper look. Pamela J. Forsythe reviews.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Reviews 5 minute read
Lewis, a Black man, in character in uniform. Sits at a desk, his hands folded looking on, a US flag behind him.

Roundabout Theatre Company presents Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play

Marching against racism

Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning play takes a look at racism in the US from 40 years before it—and remains relevant 40 years after it. David Block previews.
David Block

David Block

Previews 2 minute read
Nine cast members stand in a balanced arrangement facing the audience, on a wooden dais stage with low steps.

Quintessence Theatre Group presents Clifford Odets’s Waiting for Lefty

Unite or die

Clifford Odets’s pro-labor drama remains relevant, despite a clumsily didactic production by Quintessence Theatre Group. Cameron Kelsall reviews.
Cameron Kelsall

Cameron Kelsall

Reviews 3 minute read
Book cover, title imposed over photo of Smith, leaning forward with a smoldering, skeptical look.

Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes, by Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. speaks

Longtime Philly sports columnist Stephen A. Smith went from The Inquirer to the airwaves of ESPN, and his new memoir details a fascinating life. Stephen Silver reviews.
Stephen Silver

Stephen Silver

Reviews 4 minute read
8 paired dancers, men lifting women, flank another pair in front, the woman, in pink, posing en pointe with the man.

Dance Theatre of Harlem presents premieres by William Forsythe and Robert Garland

Dance to take you higher

Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to Penn Live Arts with the world premiere of William Forsythe’s Blake Works IV (The Barre Project) and the Philly premiere of Robert Garland’s Higher Ground, set to music by Stevie Wonder. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 4 minute read
Four people, 2 white and 2 Black, face different directions in an opulent, high-ceilinged room with a candle chandelier

Theatre in the X and EgoPo Classic Theater present Langston Hughes’s The Ways of White Folks

Philly’s own Renaissance

Theatre in the X and EgoPo's immersive adaptation of The Ways of White Folks, a classic Langston Hughes story collection, deserves the buzz it’s been getting at Glen Foerd mansion. Jeannine Cook reviews.
Jeannine A. Cook

Jeannine A. Cook

Reviews 5 minute read
A person dressed in a beige suit sits in a chair by a CRT TV with a white screen, a plant in the dimly lit background

Opera Philadelphia presents David T. Little’s Black Lodge

Accepting your dark side

Opera Philadelphia brings its dark existential opera film to theaters this weekend. C. M. Crockford previews.
C.M. Crockford

C.M. Crockford

Previews 1 minute read
Gallery view: gray floor, a brick column, an orange wall, goofy blue ducks, a bright flower-vase still-life, a collage & more

UArts’s Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery presents Alex Da Corte’s The Street

An enigmatic trip

Expect the unexpected at a colorful and challenging new solo exhibition from internationally known interdisciplinary artist Alex Da Corte, a Camden native and UArts grad. Emily B. Schilling reviews.
Emily Schilling

Emily Schilling

Reviews 4 minute read
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Three Black women dancers in reddish gold leotards leap in unison against a red backdrop.

The Weekly BSR Arts and Culture Roundup, January 18-24

Dancing all night at PLA, Lunar New Year, and more cultural festivities

The upcoming week features offerings from Simpatico, the Weitzman, Penn Live Arts, Penn Museum, and more. Kyle V. Hiller rounds up.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Previews 4 minute read
Old, weathered paper with handwriting in Czech.

BSR Classical Music Interludes: January 2023, Part 2

An overflow of music—and a little mystery, too

Gail Obenreder rounds up even more January classical music offerings in and around the city.
Gail Obenreder

Gail Obenreder

Previews 4 minute read
Scan of 1786 newspaper ad for concerts at City Tavern, detailing a musical program and subscriber policies in funny old text

Main Line Early Music presents The Publick Pleasure: Music of 18th-Century Philadelphia

The tunes of the Revolution

Philadelphia has a thriving and innovative musical scene, but that’s nothing new as The Publick Pleasure proved at a Main Line Early Music concert highlighting favorites of the 18th century that are almost unknown today. Gail Obenreder reviews.
Gail Obenreder

Gail Obenreder

Reviews 4 minute read
11 snapshots of people in the 90s taped haphazardly to white cardboard; yellowing tape pieces mark many missing photos.

William Way LGBT Community Center presents Selections from the Archives: Rami George

The truth about family photos

This look at the William Way archives from Rami George highlights the artist's knack for curating material objects, which take on a fresh, interactive meaning in this gallery. Jake Foster reviews.
Jake Foster

Jake Foster

Reviews 3 minute read
Black & white photo of 10 men onstage in suits, many of them raising a fist. Silhouetted audience members also raise fists

As fights for fair labor continue, Waiting For Lefty is a timely revival at Quintessence Theatre Group

“A story that needs to be told”

A revival of the American classic Waiting For Lefty highlights unionization efforts within and outside the arts industry. Melissa Lin Sturges speaks with director Kyle Haden about the power of storytelling and the importance of the collective.
Melissa Lin Sturges

Melissa Lin Sturges

Features 5 minute read
An image of MLK is projected on a screen behind a band on stage, a crowd watching them in a well-lit hall

The Weekly BSR Arts and Culture Roundup, January 11-17, 2023

Revisiting the blueprint for MLK Day

Kyle V. Hiller rounds up MLK Day events in the Philly area.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Previews 3 minute read
NJ Symphony performance: Trifonov in the fore at the grand piano, Zhang at the podium, arms uplifted & the orchestra around

The New Jersey Symphony presents Daniil Trifonov Performs Brahms

Pure music

Star soloist Daniil Trifonov brought lyricism and weight to Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto in the New Jersey Symphony’s first concert program of 2023. Cameron Kelsall reviews.
Cameron Kelsall

Cameron Kelsall

Reviews 3 minute read
A Black woman in lace tights, black leather shorts, and a black-and-white checked blouse stands proudly at the mic.

Voices In Power presents its Poetry Open Mic Experience, featuring Courtney Lynn, Scott Free, and Sunny CeLight

Voices in power and nothing but

At January’s Voices In Power open mic, a monthly celebration of local and national poets in the Fashion District’s REC Philly, hundreds turned up for the show. Chris DeMento was there.
Chris DeMento

Chris DeMento

Essays 4 minute read
A gleaming, low-slung orange Lamborghini with black interior and wheels, parked on a shiny white surface.

I love Greta Thunberg — but why is it ok for her to mock guys with small dicks?

Fame is no excuse for body shame

Misogynist influencer Andrew Tate deserved to be burned on Twitter by climate activist Greta Thunberg, but Roz Warren says it's time to stop the body-shaming.
Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Essays 4 minute read
The cover: black & white photo of small boy in a police uniform holding a protest sign; title in yellow block at bottom right

Reforming Philadelphia, 1682-2022, by Richardson Dilworth

The three hundred years’ war

What makes city reform possible, and how did we achieve it in the past? A new book on the history of Philly’s political reforms explains, and argues, we’re on the cusp of another cycle of change. Pamela J. Forsythe reviews.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Reviews 5 minute read