Every week William Way Executive Director Chris Bartlett and I meet for a rummage through the LGBT community center’s John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives, a veritable treasure trove of relics from gay Philadelphia’s past.
Today, we share images picked from a bin of photos donated to the archives after it was discovered in the basement of late Philadelphia Gay News(PGN) photographer Harry Eberlin‘s longtime partner Richard DeMatt. The photos span the past few decades, and feature some local LGBT notables, like PGN publisher Mark Segal, Philly leather community matriarch Pearl, Woody’s founder and Knock owner Bill Wood, and even a baby-faced Ed Rendell.
We weren’t able to identify everyone, so feel free to comment below or email me if you recognize anyone in the photos.
Jonathan Beyer met his boyfriend of eight years, Brandon Cedel, when they were both students at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. They lived in Center City for a good number of years, where, as Beyer gleefully points out, they were once voted the “cutest couple” in their apartment building.
Five years ago Dr. Patrick Barrett began hosting a soiree in his apartment, where he’d ask guests to come in drag. He dubbed the party The Philly Beauty Ball, and it was apparently such a riot that it’s become become one of the year’s most-anticipated events. It’s a chance for those among us who are curious about drag but don’t want to glue on lashes and tuck our junk on a regular basis to see what we look like in a wig and a little rouge. But most importantly it’s a fun way to take part in the community and raise money for a good, local LGBT cause.