Johnny Weir Shot Secret Gay Film at Sochi Winter Olympics

Apparently Olympic skater—and Wynnewood, Pennsylvania native—Johnny Weir was doing more than moderating for NBC (and Instagramming his outlandish outfits) at this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics. Amid all the flack he took for being there in the first place, Weir was covertly working with a film crew to document what it was like being gay at the games.

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Two Local Women Starring in Fantasy Reality Series The Quest

Lina Carollo and Jasmine Kyle star in new ABC fantasy reality series "The Quest."

Lina Carollo and Jasmine Kyle star in new ABC fantasy reality series “The Quest.” Photo courtesy of ABC/Rick Rowell.

South Jersey-bred school counselor Lina Carollo had no idea what she was getting into when she showed up to the airport this spring to fly off to film a reality show she had been cast in called The Quest. She didn’t even know where she was flying until a front desk attendant said, “Have fun in Austria!”

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Philly’s Independence Business Alliance Wins Chamber of the Year

independence business allianceGreater Philadelphia’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Independence Business Alliance (IBA), got some big news today. Only moments ago, at the Business & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) awarded it the coveted 2014 Chamber of the Year Award. 

Reps from NGLCC say they chose IBA as this year’s recipient because it “is developing innovative ways to engage with their community … the dedicated board and staff truly embody the spirit of national-local partnership. Their work partnering with major corporations, their extensive educational and outreach programming, and their engagement with the local business community is consistent and impressive.”

IBA does a lot of work in the city and region to provide resources and encourage economic development for local LGBT-owned business. Among other things, every year, it hands out a $5,000 grant to a Philly-area LGBT entrepreneur, money that is used to promote innovative ideas, and expand business. Some prior benefactors include Metro Men’s Clothing, and, most recently, West Philly’s Gold Standard. They’ve also recently kicked off a monthly networking mixer, ConnX, that encourages local business folks to mingle and exchange ideas. (The next one is coming up on August 19th at Tavern On Camac.)

“The IBA is excited to share this honor with the local LGBT and allied business community we serve,” IBA Executive Administrator Tom Cavanaugh said after receiving the award. “It is an honor to be recognized for our hard work, and we hope to inspire Philadelphia for years to come.”

Many congrats.

Martha Graham Cracker Heads to Poland

Martha Graham Cracker’s world domination tour continues. It all started last year in New York, where she got rave reviews (and multiple invite-backs) performing at Joe’s Pub. This spring she turned the honky tonks on their heads in Austin, Texas. And now she’s making her biggest leap yet—across the proverbial pond and then some to sing in Lublin, Poland’s experimental arts festival “Confrontations” in October.

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STUDY: Kids Who Read Harry Potter Books More Tolerant of Minorities

harry potter

A nifty new study says that you may be casting a spell on your kids by letting them read Harry Potter series—one that vamooses prejudice. Research just published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology finds that young people who J.K. Rowling’s book wildly popular book series are more likely to have improved attitudes toward stigmatized groups—especially when identifying with the protagonist. More from The Week:

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Local Designers Named Finalists in Martha Stewart Design Competition

eric and christopher pillows

You’ve probably seen Eric Fausnacht and Christopher Kline around town at a street fair or weekend arts market. The duo have made a business—called Eric & Christopher—out of hand-screen-printing images of animals residing on Bucks County farms onto everything from pillows to totes. Their wares have popped up in newspapers and magazines like The Washington Post and HGTV Gardens, and most recently they got a thumbs up from Martha Stewart herself.

The arts-and-craft goddess chose the pair as finalists in her 2014 American Made Awards. The 20-year-old contest “spotlights the next generation of great American makers: entrepreneurs, artisans, and small-business owners who are creating beautiful, inspiring, useful products; pioneering new industries; improving local communities; and changing the way we eat, shop, work, and live.”

Eric and Christopher are nominated in the “Design” category. If they win, they’ll score, among other things, $10,000 to grow their business, and a spotlight on Sounds like a life-changing opportunity for a pair of local home-good designers, huh?

Winners will be picked based on reader vote. Polls open September 8th, so set your calendar to show them some local support. You can find the voting page here. If you want to congratulate the guys in person, they’ll be  hosting a pillow-signing at gay-owned Glenside boutique Kelly-Cataldi Home this Friday, August 1st. Call the store for time details.

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