Imagine the distracted glower of early-'70s Lou Reed crossed with the music-as-theater-of-the-absurd performances of Iggy Pop's Hollywood era — this is Hedwig, formerly Hansel. A nice East German boy who suffered a botched sex-change operation, Hedwig was abandoned by her first husband, and then she re-created herself as the avenging angel of rock & roll with new love Tommy Gnosis, only to see Tommy leave and claim Hedwig's songs and career as his own. Now Hedwig stalks Tommy across the country with her ferocious band the Angry Inch (a reference to Hedwig's mutilated genitals), singing about "The Origin of Love" in a chain of depressing, nautically themed restaurants. John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a true punk-rock musical that touches the heart as it squeezes your throat. The Reel Late at the Tivoli film series screens Hedwig at midnight Friday and Saturday (August 1 and 2) at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; www.landmarktheatres.com or 314-995-6270). Tickets are $6.50.
Fri., Aug. 1; Sat., Aug. 2, 2008