The New Who’s Who of Philly’s Gay Community

They’re more than just here and queer. They’re the people who feed you, entertain you, provoke you, amuse you and surprise you. Come meet them


THE MASTERS OF ARTS

MARK A. DAHL and ZANE BOOKER

 

His mother sang in Billy Graham’s choir and his aunt starred in Damn Yankees with Joe Piscopo. Dahl, founder of Traverse Art Project (TAP) and the director of LGBT nightlife at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, admits, “I grew up in a theatrical family.” He’s traveled the world in more than 75 stage shows, directs the “Miss’d America” pageant, produces POP! gay sketch comedy, and has worked at the Wilma Theater, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center on star-studded events like Night of a Thousand Gowns. “I hope to create shows that really challenge people’s beliefs and make them question why they believe what they do,” says Dahl, who also wants to make people laugh. “We want to do Steel Magnolias in drag this year.”

Booker, a West Philly native, got his start at the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts. “I got into Philadanco early,” says Booker, artistic director of The Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative. He eventually trained at the School of American Ballet in New York City before moving to Europe to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. “My focus now is on developing a work based on Essex Hemphill and Joe Beam,” says Booker, both African-American gay rights activists. This year Booker, also an artist-activist, was honored with a dance tribute at Equality Forum. “I want to keep us talking about the difficult issues, like HIV and AIDS, racism, class and historical revisionism,” he says.

For more Who’s Who, click here.

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  • RCP

    This is all well and good but any list of the new who’s who in Philadelphia’s gay community would be incomplete without naming James Duggan of Queer Times.

  • Lauren

    Philadelphia has at least 50% minority population. Or to put it mildly minorities are the majority here. Most of the people presented are white with three African-Americans. Apparently no Asians or Latinos are part of the LGBT community by “Philadelphia Magazine’s” standards. There are many minority LGBT people who are active and serve the community but you do not see them.

  • andrea

    Oh, GPhilly, you have such an opportunity to be awesome, but you’re white-washing our community. Again.

    I’ll put out there from the jump that I’m a white woman and one of the things I love the most about LGBT Philly is the diversity.

    Too bad GPhilly only sees the white people. And, the young. Just picked up a hard copy of the piece above and noticed the people who didn’t make the cut – by and large, they’re all over 35. Disappointed in the few people of color – 3 black and 1 latino out of 22 doesn’t cut it (even though they’re all great). In the print version, its even worse – there the brown people have to share a page with a white person. This sucks. It could be so much better. This magazine will fail if it doesn’t get with reality. Open your eyes, GPhilly, people of color spend money, too, and even white people have a problem with white-washing of our community.