Row House Cinema & Ace Hotel
March 25 & 26

7:15 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

All Hedwig and The Angry Inch devotees should clear their entire weekend calendars immediately for these highly anticipated events hosted by the Reel Q Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival.

John Cameron Mitchell
John Cameron Mitchell

Celebrating the work of American actor, writer and director John Cameron Mitchell—and marking his first visit to Pittsburgh since the late 1970s—the two-day series boasts screenings, a Q&A, VIP meet-and-greet sessions and a not-to-miss dance party.

The mini-fest kicks off on Friday, March 25th with a showcase of Mitchell’s contributions behind the camera. Setting up shop at Row House Cinema, Reel Q will present Shortbus, the erotic dramedy written and directed by Mitchell in 2006. Starring Sook-Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, PJ DeBoy and more (plus music by Yo La Tengo)—Shortbus follows a “sexually diverse ensemble” of charismatic New Yorkers desperately trying to make their way and form meaningful bonds in the Big Apple. From a married couples therapist to a gay couple, the movie’s memorable characters convene—along with plenty of refreshing romance, sexual adventure, psychoanalysis, art, music and politics—at a colorful Brooklyn salon that’s loosely inspired by underground gatherings that took place in NYC during early 2000s.


Following the screening, Brian Siewiorek of WYEP will lead a Q&A with Mitchell and actors Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy.

Next up is Saturday’s celebration of Mitchell’s best known work—as originator of the title role in the Hedwig and the Angry Inch. For its “Night of 1,000 Hedwigs” event, Reel Q is taking the festivities to the newly opened Ace Hotel gymnasium in East Liberty for a film screening at 7:30 p.m. and a dance party at 10 p.m.

Rewriting the book on the rock musical, the award-winning 2001 film—based on the stage musical Mitchell co-wrote and starred in—chronicles the adventures of a fictional rock band fronted by an East German genderqueer singer named Hedwig (formerly Hansel).

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Fans will sing along as Hedwig survives a botched sex change operation, marries an American man to escape East Germany, forms a rock band and falls for a younger guy who steals her music. While pursuing a copyright lawsuit, Hedwig’s band soldiers on playing at coffee shops, strip mall dives and even a seafood restaurant chain. Exploring Hedwig’s past, personal journey and complex gender identity, the iconic film was written by Mitchell (who stars as Hedwig) and Stephen Trask, and features Michael Pitt, Miriam Shor and Andrea Martin.

What’s a Hedwig screening without a dance party? Turning the energy up a notch, Reel Q will wrap up the weekend with the help of legendary NYC dance party Mattachine. Founded by Mitchell and DeBoy in 2008, Mattachine has been packing the dance floor at Julius’ Bar in the West Village—the very site where the country’s first gay rights organization fought against the city’s “no service for known homosexuals” law. Celebrating the music of “queer yesteryear,” Mattachine’s own DJs will spin everything from New Wave to disco to old school hip hop. At 10 p.m., a limited number of tickets will be sold at the door.

Go here to purchase general admission tickets and VIP tickets. Open to ages 21 and up.

Looking for more events? Read our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in March feature.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.