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The Week in Arts: John Cameron Mitchell Brings Back ‘Hedwig’; L.G.B.T.Q. Films Roll Out for Pride


June 27-29; thetownhall.org

“You know,” John Cameron Mitchell said, over the phone, “we were rejected by all the theaters in New York when Stephen Trask and I were coming up with ‘Hedwig.’ Drag wasn’t really considered theater. And punk rock — they didn’t go together.”

Twenty-odd years ago, maybe not. But “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” changed that, stomping glamorously all over those assumptions with its debut downtown in 1998. Starring Mitchell as Hedwig, a transgender rock star manqué, the musical quickly became a cult hit — one that’s since been staged around the world, including on Broadway, and made into a film.

Remembering those early days will be part of the show when Mitchell and Trask bring their concert spectacle “The Origin of Love” to Town Hall in Manhattan for three performances, starting Thursday. “We’ll get all the old cast members and as many Hedwigs as we can find,” Mitchell said. With a four-piece band, they’ll perform songs from “Hedwig” and tell tales about it in a celebration timed for Pride. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Through Sep. 2; philamuseum.org

Based in Atlanta and named for a line in a Langston Hughes poem, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation acquires work by black artists from the American South and places it in museums across the country. Some of the foundation’s trove is now showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art — the exhibition, “Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African-American South,” includes stunning pieces by masters of politically charged, found-object assemblage like Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley. But there’s still nothing like the quilts of tiny Gee’s Bend, Ala., where for the better part of a century women have been making powerful abstract compositions with whatever fabric they had at hand. They easily hold their own with the Picassos, Cornells and other masterworks in the museum’s fine concurrent “Art of Collage and Assemblage.” WILL HEINRICH

June 23, 26 and 28; lmcc.net

Dancing outdoors at dawn may sound extreme, but it’s not unusual for Jennifer Monson, whose choreographic process often takes cues from nature. For one of her recent works, “bend the even,” she rehearsed on an Illinois prairie as daylight broke. And the first part of “ditch” — a new response to social, economic and ecological forces on Manhattan’s Lower East Side — unfolds on the East River Esplanade at sunrise (that’s 5:25 a.m.) on Sunday.

If you’re not an early riser, not to worry: “ditch” continues on Wednesday and Friday with evening performances at the South Street Seaport Museum. One of many free offerings in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival, the work pays close attention to its surroundings — to the movement of people, water and weather at the base of the island. Looking inward as much as outward, Monson and her collaborators explore how bodies know when disaster, or refuge, is near. SIOBHAN BURKE

June 28.

The sailors aboard the Maiden, the first yacht with an all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race, were ridiculed as “a tinful of tarts.” Some even put down wagers on how long they could stay afloat. They were told repeatedly — by men — that they would fail.

Nevertheless, Tracy Edwards and her fellow yachtswomen persisted.

And when their vessel sailed into port at Southampton, England, in May 1990 — after traveling a total of 33,000 miles through the Earth’s harshest oceans (beating their male-led counterparts on two legs of the race in the process) — they were met by a flotilla of vessels and thousands of cheering spectators, even though they hadn’t come in first.

Edwards, the boat’s 27-year-old British skipper, had proved the naysayers wrong, and for that she became the first woman to win the Yachtsman of the Year trophy.

Alex Holmes’s “Maiden,” opening Friday, is a thrill ride, weaving together exhilarating, even terrifying footage filmed during the nine-month journey and present-day interviews with Edwards, a teenage hellion turned fearless leader, and her crew. It also checks back with some of those men who tried to laugh Edwards out of the water — and who now admit the error of their ways. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

June 23; caramoor.org

In 2017, the summer music festival Caramoor, in Katonah, New York, concluded its long-revered bel canto opera program, led by the esteemed conductor Will Crutchfield. Though it has meant the loss of a major source of nineteenth-century opera rarities, the series has fortunately been replaced by visits from touring companies offering other vocal fare. This Sunday, Caramoor hosts “Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain,” an afternoon of enchanting music from the French Baroque courtesy of the Boston Early Music Festival. Under the direction of experts Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, and with a strong cast, this restaging of a 2016 production features a pastiche of excerpts from operas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Michel-Richard de Lalande that provide a window into the musical life of the court of King Louis XIV of France. WILLIAM ROBIN

June 24; cityparksfoundation.org

Japanese Breakfast is a true indie success story — but one whose origins are clouded by sorrow. Michelle Zauner, the singer, songwriter and guitarist behind the project, was a mainstay in Philadelphia’s D.I.Y. community after graduating from college there in 2011. She began recording under the Japanese Breakfast moniker in 2013, but it was only after her mother’s death the following year that her career started to take off.

Zauner channeled her grief into “In Heaven,” a standout track from her 2016 debut studio album, “Psychopomp.” The song models one of Japanese Breakfast’s best tricks: masking the melancholy ache of its lyrics with the decadence of dream pop. For a free performance in Central Park, Zauner will be joined by another purveyor of the genre: Hatchie, a young Australian singer whose music reveals a lighter heart: Her sugar-dusted melodies can be heard on last year’s “Sure,” and “Secret,” from her just-released debut album. OLIVIA HORN

June 28; OVID.tv

OVID.tv, a haven for indie gems not generally found on Netflix or Amazon, has been celebrating Pride Month by rolling out 20 L.G.B.T.Q.-themed movies. The lineup includes Bill Sherwood’s groundbreaking “Parting Glances” (1986), starring Steve Buscemi as a rock singer dying of AIDS and Nguyen Thi Tham’s “Madam Phung’s Last Journey” (2015), about a former Vietnamese monk turned protector of transgender carnival performers.

On Friday, the subscription streaming service will unveil the last two of the series: “108 (Cuchillo de Palo)” (2013), Renate Costa Perdomo’s investigation into her uncle’s persecution as a gay man under the regime of the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and “Alive!” (2015), in which Vincent Boujon follows five H.I.V.-positive men preparing for their first solo parachute jump.

Since debuting in March, OVID.tv has expanded its selection of art-house films and documentaries to more than 400, recently adding Oscilloscope and Metrograph to its collection of partners. And it just keeps growing: Next month, the service will welcome Kartemquin Films, the MacArthur Award-winning production company behind 2016’s “63 Boycott,” about the 1963 student protests of racial segregation in the Chicago Public Schools, and “The New Americans,” the critically acclaimed 2004 documentary mini-series about immigration. KATHRYN SHATTUCK



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