Philly Drag Queen Offends With 9/11-Themed Performance. Did She Go Too Far?

Divine, from the Official Divine Facebook

Divine, from the Official Divine Facebook

When I was an undergrad, I took a feminist art history course as a random elective, and I loved it so much that I almost changed my major. When it came to the 1970s segment of the class, we spent a lengthy amount of time discussing performance artists. The piece I will always remember, not because of the physical performance, but because of the debate in our class surrounding it, was Carolee Schneemann‘s 1975 work “Interior Scroll.” In it, Schneemann posed nude while covering herself with mud. Then, she took a scroll out of her vagina and started reading it.

We were all really torn about whether or not to call Schneemann’s work “art.” That’s not really the point here: Call it whatever you want, but she really wasn’t harming anyone by performing the work, and it’s still considered one of the most provocative feminist “artworks” of the 20th century.

That clearly won’t be said about a performance that took place at last week’s Philadelphia Drag Wars competition that’s caused quite a stir. The show, which took place on September 11th, featured a number by drag queen Ariel Versace. Dressed in Muslim garb, Versace entered the stage adorned with bombs. From a balcony, someone threw dolls and shards of paper. The dolls were supposed to represent people jumping from the Twin Towers on 9/11, and the paper? If you watch footage from the day of the attacks, you can clearly see shards of Xerox copies falling from various offices in the World Trade Center.

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Cece Rex

Every hump day a Philly person shares their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, Cece Rex, owner of Special Touch Massage where she works in the practice and development of massage therapy. 



Queer Pop-Up Book Shop Series Begins This Weekend

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Philly AIDS Thrift re-opened the doors to Giovanni’s Room last Friday, debuting a new space that, much like its store in Queen Village, will sell secondhand goods—everything from records and clothing to jewelry. We’re thrilled that the storied bookstore is alive and well again, but we can’t help but mourn the lack of queer reads. As we reporter earlier this week, there is a shelf full of children’s books and some miscellaneous works in the store, but not a ton of the LGBT persuasion.

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Does This Photo Show the Suspects in Gay Beating Having Dinner at La Viola?

Former Real Housewives of New Jersey castmate Greg Bennett tweeted this photo that he claims — because of similarities in clothing — includes some of the alleged suspects in the hate crime that happened on Thursday in Center City.

Bennett did not want to confirm who sent him the picture, but from the image it appears it was taken at La Viola West at 252 South 16th Street, not far from where the attack happened at 16th and Chancellor streets. We reached out to management, which confirmed they had a large party on the night of the attack; they could not, however, confirm whether the photo was taken that night. They also said they do not know who made the reservation, as they tear up their reservation list each night. They say they have not heard from police.

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Philly Business Owners Offering $10K for Info Leading to Arrest of Gay Men’s Attackers

UPDATE, 10:11 p.m. Are These the Gay Beating Suspects Having Dinner at La Viola?

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I just got word from Penn 6 co-owner Tim Adams that his business partners, the folks who run Penn 6, City Tap House, and Field House, want to offer a $10,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the people who attacked the two gay men last week in Center City.

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Police Release Video of Suspects in Attack of Two Gay Men in Center City

UPDATE, 10:11 p.m. Are These the Gay Beating Suspects Having Dinner at La Viola?

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m. Penn 6 Offers $10K Reward in Arrest of Center City Hate Crime

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Philadelphia police have released video of a group of people they’ve identified as suspects in the attack last Thursday of two gay men in Center City. Police are classifying the incident as a hate crime/assault and robbery.

The full statement from police below:

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Resurrection Room Finds Gunnar Montana Hitting His Artistic Stride

Local choreographer—and former G Philly cover boy—Gunnar Montana is currently starring in his latest FringeArts piece Resurrection Room, one of a host of LGBT shows playing at this year’s festival. Unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but a reader, Mark Bolen sent this commentary that we wanted to share. Full disclosure: As you’ll discover when you read, Bolen is Gunnar’s ex-boyfriend, but conflict of interest aside, it offers a behind-the-scenes peek into the artistic evolution of one of Philly’s most promising up-and-coming performers, LGBT or otherwise. Check out his piece below.

Photo by Garrett Matthew

Photos by Garrett Matthew

I met Gunnar moonlighting at a Center City restaurant back in 2011, but he didn’t call himself Montana then. He was Gunnar Clark, an adorable UArts senior, bursting with energy and creativity. We became fast friends—and eventually boyfriends. I spent two years on a wild ride intimately linked to Gunnar’s evolution as an artist. During the course of that time I got to load my car full of shredded medical records, ride a stretcher down 8th Street at 2 a.m. (we got pulled over, but avoided a ticket), stand in a robe in my tub and be doused with black paint, and fold I don’t know how many paper plates and cone “spikes.”

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Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney Reveal Plans for 13th and Locust

Foobooz has the scoop on Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s plans for their space at 13th and Locust streets, the location formerly known as Bump and Q. Unlike Little Nonna’s, which was inspired by Marcie’s Italian grandmother, the new space gets new life courtesy of Turney’s heritage.

From Turney's Instagram: "This is #Bud&Marilyn's restaurant opening day photo in 1950."

From Turney’s Instagram: “This is #Bud&Marilyn’s restaurant opening day photo in 1950.”

The restaurant will be called Bud & Marilyn’s in honor of Turney’s grandparents who ran a restaurant in Wisconsin for forty years. Turney’s Instagram feed contains several clues for what’s planned. There’s a photo of what her grand parents’ restaurant looked like back on its opening day in 1950 (right), the epitome of mid-Century diner. Her Instagram avatar also shows what could very well be a rendering of what’s planned for Bud & Marilyn’s. This all jives with what we’ve heard whispered for the concept, something like throwback American or classic American-diner.

So I guess this pretty much squashes my suspicion that they were working with former Sisters manager Denise Cohen to open a lesbian bar.

UPDATE: Gay Men Attacked in Center City Released From Hospital With “Serious Visible Injuries”

The 26- and 28-year-old gay couple who were attacked in Center City last Thursday have been released from the hospital, but are suffering “serious visible injuries.” The photo below shows the extent to one of the victim’s eye. More from Queerty:

victim gay center citySpeaking with the media last night, both victims say they have been released from the hospital with serious visible injuries. One victim, speaking through a contraption that will have his jaw wired shut for the next two months, says he suffered multiple facial fractures and several orbital fractures.

“I thought he was dead,” his boyfriend said, describing how assailants “threw his head onto the ground.” …

The victims have been able to identify their attackers via video footage that was captured on the night of the attack. So far no arrests have been made, but Officer Christine O’Brien tells me PPD will release a new surveillance video to the public later today. “I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s good video that’s hopefully going to aid in figuring out who the attackers are.”

Stay tuned to G Philly for updates.

Tie-the-Knot Tuesday: David B. Devan + David A. Dubbeldam

David B. Devan & David A. Dubbeldam (plus guests)

David B. Devan & David A. Dubbeldam (plus guests)

Every Tuesday, we are featuring a Philadelphia-area gay or lesbian couple who have walked down the aisle in their own special way. Today, we feature David Devan, Artistic Director of Opera Philadelphia, and his husband, David Dubbeldam, from Philadelphia. Yes, they are a pair of Double-D’s!

Names: David B. Devan and David A. DubbeldamHands cropped

How long have you been together as a couple before you got married?: Two years.

When did you get married?: August 4, 2007

Describe the experience of your wedding. Where did you get married? Who was there? What was the most memorable part?: In the summer of 2006 we returned to Victoria, British Columbia, the city we met in and lived in before moving to Philadelphia, to be legally married (marriage equality has been recognized in B.C. since July 2003). Our wedding was the most beautiful day of our lives filled with cherished family and dearest friends (including over 20 from Philadelphia). We were not expecting to be so moved by all the love and support that everyone had for us as a couple—it was so powerful and we will never forget it! 

Want to be featured in a future Tie-the-Knot Tuesday? If you’re a gay or lesbian couple married in Pennsylvania, we want to hear from you. Take our brief survey!

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