WATCH: Bon Jovi Debuts New Song at Rutgers-Camden Graduation

Jersey-born rocker Bon Jovi was presented an honorary doctorate of letters this week at the Rutgers-Camden graduation at Susquehanna Bank Center. The gesture recognizes his career as an entertainer and work to raise money for the causes of homelessness and poverty.

During his commencement address, he pulled out his guitar and broke into song, a new ditty he wrote for the occasion called “Reunion.” It includes some inspiring lyrics, telling the graduating class of around 293 to do things like “write your song,” and “start your own revolution”–you know, take-life-by-the-balls kind of stuff. Give it a listen in the Twitter video up top and below. Or watch the full video here.

(h/t 6ABC)

 

INTERVIEW: Yoko Ono

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Shutterstock.com

Next month, Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, will debut an exhibit of artworks by John Lennon. Curated by his wife Yoko Ono, “The Art of John Lennon” comprises limited edition prints adapted from the “Imagine” singer’s original drawings—from his iconic pencil-scribbled self portraits, to whimsical, comic book-like illustrations with sayings like, “He tried to consult the stars, but no one returned his calls.”

“The Art of John Lennon” is a traveling exhibit created by Ono around 15 years ago with the intent of not only sharing her husband’s work with the masses, but to support local nonprofits. In this case, Ocean Galleries requests that guests donate $5 to see the exhibit, which will be given to Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

I chatted with Ono this week in anticipation of the exhibit. She shared anecdotes behind some of the works in the exhibit, told me a funny story about Philly, and opened up about falling in love with Lennon’s music again after all these years.

Let’s talk about this exhibit coming to Ocean Galleries. Why is it important for you to exhibit John’s work in small galleries like this across the country? 

I really think that it’s very important—even if it’s in a very small space … because it has a power and that power you’re going to get anywhere.

How did you go about selecting the pieces that would appear in the exhibit? 
In the beginning—15 years ago when it was starting—I [chose based on] what hit me the most. And then, gradually, I realized that each one was hitting me very strongly. I started to get into his work more. Now, I really feel that each one is so special. So I rotate them: This time I show some things, next year I’ll show something different.

Photo courtesy of Yoko Ono

John Lennon’s Let’s Have a Dream. | Courtesy of Yoko Ono

One of my favorite pieces is Let’s Have a Dream (right). What’s the story behind that sketch?
John was really getting into the family scene. He was really getting into [his son] Sean, actually. I was surprised at how he felt so strongly connected with Sean. Maybe in some ways, subconsciously, he knew he wasn’t going to have much time with us. I don”t know. But there was that feeling.

I also like On Cloud Nine (below, right), which pictures the two of you naked sitting on a cloud. Nudity was a recurring theme in your works and activism. Why? 
It has to do with softness and the fragility of human beings.

How did John’s work influence the art you were making? 
I was doing my artwork for about 30 years before I met him. I was eight years older than him … I was very much deep into my own artwork, and I think that there were a lot of technical things I knew … So there was more giving than taking.

So he was more influenced by you?
I don’t think so. That’s another thing that was very interesting: He was an artist before I met him—he started when he was 9. He was very good, and extremely different from my kind of work. In a way, we didn’t really influence each other, but we loved each other, which helped in a way. … You know what I think: We were in Japan together, and I think he was influenced more by classic Japanese paintings.

John Lennon's On Cloud Nine. | Courtesy of Yoko Ono

John Lennon’s On Cloud Nine. | Courtesy of Yoko Ono

You guys met in an art gallery, right? Can you take me back to that moment?
[Singing] We met in an art gallery … When he came in, he was looking around, but not expressing his emotions so much. When he went up to see a [canvas on the ceiling], he went all the way up the ladder and saw it and came down. He said, “Hmm,” and sort of gave a little smile and left—never explaining how he thought about it. Later, on a TV show, he said, [imitating Lennon’s voice] “Well, you know, I saw this thing and I didn’t like it.” So  he felt something, but he was too shy to tell me about it at the time.

There are a lot of themes of peace and love in John’s art. How do you think his images speak to what’s happening now in the world, especially in places like Ferguson and Baltimore? 
He was so upset about people killing each other and hurting each other. … He would have hated what’s going on now in the world.

What are your thoughts?
Ditto. I’m with him, okay? … We tried hard to bring peace and a better world. And we still do. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

Do you have any memories of Philadelphia?
Yes. It’s so funny: John was in L.A. and I was in New York, and they wanted me to come to Philadelphia to do a show or something. I went with a very attractive, tall girl, who was my assistant at the time. And she had glasses on. Everybody went up to her thinking it was John. She said, “I don’t look like a guy, do I?” She was a little bit offended. [Laughs]

Do you have a favorite John and Yoko song? 
Any song that John wrote—especially when it was about us—I love very much. I used to have favorites, but now I’m starting to listen to his songs more … and I’m starting to like all of them, really. … I didn’t usually like to listen to John’s songs. It reminded me of John not being here, but I started to listen to them because I had to, because of business. Then I started to really like them.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Ten years is a very long time these days. … In 10 years, maybe we’ll all be moths, or something. [Laughs]

It seems like you work really hard to preserve John’s legacy. How do you want to be remembered?
I don’t know. … I don’t know how people see me. I have no idea. I’m more concerned about John’s legacy, because he’s not here. I’m the only one who can work on it.

“The Art of John Lennon” will be on display at Ocean Galleries for a limited time only, from June 18th to 22nd. For more information on that and special events around the exhibit, go here. Check out more works from the exhibit below. 



Today is National Give OUT Day

Give OUT Day Rainbow Flag

Today, Thursday, May 21st, is Give OUT Day, a national, 24-hour campaign that rallies donors for LGBTQ-specific causes. Samantha Giusti, executive director of local nonprofit-championing Delaware Valley Legacy Fund explains more: “For 24-hours, the LGBTQ community and its allies from across the country will come together to raise critically needed funds to support the diverse array of LGBTQ nonprofits including community centers, arts groups, organizers, clinics, student clubs, sports leagues and more.” Last year, she says, 13,000 people donated to raise more than $1 million for over 500 LGBT causes nationwide.

There’s no denying that there are a plethora of worthy organizations all across the country that deserve our dollars, but, naturally, we’d like to see some of our local organizations rack up some serious cash, too.

By doing a simple search for “Philadelphia” on the Give OUT Day site, I found a handful of statewide non-profits set up to receive donations. Here they are (with links to their giving pages.):

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Schedule Announced for Gay Beach Party Sand Blast

Shot from last year's Sand Blast. | Photo by Alexander Kacala

Shot from last year’s Sand Blast. | Photo by Alexander Kacala

Event producers Brad Hurtado and Bruce Yelk have released the full itinerary for Sand Blast, what they’re billing as the largest mid-Atlantic summer gay and lesbian beach party. The festivities are taking place July 17th through the 19th in Atlantic City for the second year in a row. It comprises three days of beach parties, dancing, entertainment and I’m guessing lots of other things that are too risqué to mention here.

Hurtado reports that 1,100 men and women showed up for last year’s Sand Blast, and they’re expecting even more in 2015. The big news this year is that the main beach party is moving from Saturday to Sunday, and they’ve wrangled Margaret Cho for an evening of comedy and mom jokes at the Borgata, and a lineup of DJs from around the world.

Weekend passes are on sale now, and individual event tickets are up for grabs starting Friday,  May 29th. To give you a little taste of what you’re in for, check out the three-day itinerary below. For more information and to buy tickets, go here.

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6ABC’s Alicia Vitarelli to Spotlight 3 Philly Restaurants on The Chew

TheChew2

Alicia Vitarelli with Le Virtu with a cameraman and Brigantessa chef Joe Cicala (far right)

Set your DVR: At 1 pm this afternoon, 6ABC Action News anchor Alicia Vitarelli will appear on The Chew, where she’ll take the show’s crew to three local restaurants with family-influenced recipes on the menu. The segment will find her visiting South Street West dessert queen Holly Ricciardi of Magpie, a Jose Garces spot and Joe Cicala of East Passyunk’s Le Virtu and Brigantessa.

Foobooz has more on the actual food they’ll be preparing here.

TheChew1

Vitarelli with Magpie owner Holly Ricciardi (center).

 

Lesbian Judge Abbe Fletman Wins Court of Common Pleas Race

Abbe Fletman photo via Facebook

Abbe Fletman photo via Facebook

Democrat Abbe Fletman, an open lesbian, was one of 12 candidates to win her race for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas during Philadelphia’s primary election on Tuesday. She joins fellow winner Chris Mallios as the second openly LGBT person to clench a win. She will now be placed on the ballot for the general election in November, and all signs are pointing to a win. (Since that’s usually how it goes for Dems here.)

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Prince Theater to Begin Screening Movies This Weekend

Photo by Derek Brad

Photo by Derek Brad

Thanks to Philadelphia Film Society (PFS), the marquee is twinkling at Prince Theater again. The historic structure was bankrupt and all but extinct, when, in March, PFS swept in to save it. Since then, Prince Theater has rolled out some fine local entertainment, including a production by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. This weekend, though, it’s gearing up for summer with its promised film programming, which will make it the only movie theater in Center City where you can catch a mainstream flick.

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Interactive Map Shows You Where to Find Pennsylvania’s Scruffiest Gay Men

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Unfortunately, the data doesn’t tell us where to find him. | Shutterstock.com

I know you’re busy watching the polls today, but here’s a fun bit of statistical data to take your mind off local politics for a bit: Gay dating app Scruff has released its latest SCRUFFtistics data, this time with an emphasis on finding the states and cities with the hairiest and smoothest gay men.

“Body Hair Nation” ranks each state according to body hair. The data shows that these are the states where you’ll find the scruffiest dudes who like dudes:

  1. Vermont
  2. Maine
  3. Oregon
  4. New Hampshire
  5. West Virginia

Pennsylvania’s not far away, at No. 13, according to this interactive map, which also ranks us No. 40 on its list of states with the smoothest men. Check it out:

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