Strange Powers Opens in Philly

Documentary follows gay singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt

As the untrained bass-baritone lead singer of The Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt is an indie rock legend whose songs run the gamut between Chinese opera to Buzby Berkley-inspired ballads. Strange Powers, a new documentary following the openly gay enigmatic frontman, opened in Jenkintown recently (no Center City dates as of yet).

Directed by Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara, the cinematic portrait chronicles Merritt’s unique gift for writing lovelorn music and lyrics over the last 10 years. It reveals Merritt’s quirks, humor, intelligence and inspiration for what’s considered his most famous work of all time, 69 Love Songs, a three-disc opus from 1999.

In a twist of characteristic self-deprecation, Merritt once revealed, “I think 69 Love Songs as a mating call is highly flawed. It’s hard to believe anyone would want to go out with me after hearing it.”