PHOTOS: Gay Couple Married on Mural Arts Love Train for the First Time Ever

On Sunday, February 8th, Mural Arts annual Love Train took off on its fifth and final voyage. To celebrate the milestone—and nearly a year having same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania—organizers chose an affianced LGBT couple to be married on the train by openly gay judge Dan Anders. As I told you last week, the couple chosen was Neal Santos and Andrew Olson. The pair had been together six years, and own an adorable farm in West Philly called Farm 51.

neal santos andrew olson wedding

Neal and Andrew at the after-party at Barbuzzo.

I got the chance to chat with Neal after the festivities were over, and he told me he wouldn’t have had the experience any other way. “It was wonderful. Being on the train with everyone watching us and knowing we could take comfort in each other and have the support from friends, family and passersby. Just wonderful.” The event was attended by several family members of Santos and Olson, including their parents and siblings, and a handful of friends, like Philadelphia magazine news editor Brian Howard and his wife Carolyn Huckabay, communications manager at The Food Trust.

The grooms followed up the evening with a lovely cocktail reception with close friends and family at Barbuzzo‘s stunning new event space above the restaurant in Midtown Village. There, he told me that if they hadn’t gotten chosen for the Love Train, they probably wouldn’t have gotten married for another two or three years. So he’s eternally grateful for the experience.

Our own HughE Dillon was there to get some shots on the train ride. Check them out in the slideshow above.

11 Things to Do in Philly This Week: Lots of Food, Music for a Cause, and Strange Underwater Creatures

PHOTOS: Mark Segal’s Annual Holiday Soiree

Philadelphia Gay News Publisher and longtime LGBT activist Mark Segal and his husband, Jason Villemez, hosted their annual holiday party, but this year the party doubled as a wedding reception to celebrate their recent nuptials.

The soiree was packed as usual with all walks of life—from politics, business associates, and influencers—enjoying a delicious spread and catching up with friends. The highlight of the evening was when former Governor Ed Rendell, Congressman Bob Brady, Mark Segal and Jason Villemez joined the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus on a rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

See my photos of the evening below.

PHOTOS: IBA’s Annual Holiday Fete

Local LGBT-owned business-championing organization Independence Business Alliance (IBA)  and its Board of Directors hosted its annual holiday celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia last night. Many in our community and our allies of business owners, professionals, corporate and community partners were on hand to toast Greater Philadelphia’s vibrant and successful LGBT business community and chat about what the future holds for them.

The festively dressed guests enjoyed an abundant—and delicious—selection of hors d’oeuvres and light bites at food stations and the cash bar on the 10th floor of the hotel, where guests got a killer view of Philly’s twinkling lights.

PHOTOS: Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, and Ariana Grande’s Dimples at Jingle Ball 2014

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande and dancers at Jingle Ball 2014. | Photo by HughE Dillon

A handful of pop music’s biggest stars were in Philadelphia last night for Q102’s annual Jingle Ball at the Wells Fargo Center. HughE Dillon was there to photograph the acts, which included everyone from Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande to Sam Smith and Nick Jonas. He also gathered a few juicy tidbits about some of the stars:

  • Nick Jonas was spotted at Capital Grille for lunch on Wednesday before the concert, and at the Cantina on East Passyunk for dinner.
  • Jake Miller performed at pre-party at XFINITY Live! and introduced Sam Smith on stage at Jingle Ball.
  • Pete Wentz was a random celebrity on the red carpet, and didn’t do anything other than that.
  • Ariana Grande was the only celebrity not to walk the red carpet; she insisted all photographers shoot her from stage right, and not use any photos that didn’t show her sparkly dimple.

See the sparkly dimple-full photos from the evening below:

Weather Screws Up Chris Rock’s Trip to Tony Luke’s, But He Makes it to Ritz Five

Chris Rock at Ritz 5, promoting his new movie The Top Five.

Chris Rock at Ritz Five, promoting his new movie, Top Five.

Winter storm/Nor’Easter Damon might not have packed a powerful punch in the Philadelphia area but it’s wreaking havoc along the Coast and New England. Case in point? Wintery conditions delayed Chris Rock’s plane on his press junket to visit five cities in one day to promote his new film Top Five,  opening Friday, December 12th.

Read more »

PHOTOS: Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus Go Holiday Honky-Tonking

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) kicked off its 2014-2015 season last week with a repertoire of traditional American holiday classics mixed with a country-music flair. I went Saturday night, sticking to a decade-long tradition of attending the concert with my friend Scott Righter and my husband Mike Toub. The concert consisted of holiday songs by American composers, both old and new, including “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”

For part of the show, the songbirds were dressed in tuxedos, but in the second act they changed into their sexiest flannel shirts and kerchiefs to perform down-home country favorites like Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas,” sung by Michael Murphy, and an acted-out “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” (Note: No reindeer were hurt during this segment.)

In addition to the angelic voices of the guys, there were dancing boys and a live band accompanying the singers. At the event Joseph J. Buches, artistic director of PGMC, chatted about the upcoming season, which includes the very tempting “Proud Marys: A Diva Sing-Along.” You won’t want to miss it. Buy your tickets early, because these show sell out fast.

PHOTOS: Philly Christmas Village Grand Opening

Philly’s annual Christmas Village got the grand opening treatment on Saturday with a celebration in LOVE Park. The holiday destination was christened by “the official Christkind from Germany,” musical performances and cups and cups of mulled wine. Check out some photos below.

PHOTOS: The Mudball Costume Party at Clay Studio

The Clay Studio hosted The Mudball, a dance-a-thon and masquerade ball, on Saturday at World Café Live. The Clay Studio, located in Old City, is a nonprofit educational institution, gallery, and studio focused on the ceramic arts. 

The Mudball raised over $20,000 dollars to benefit the Studio’s educational art programs, designed to provide access to the ceramic arts to people of diverse backgrounds. Plus, it served as one of the first costume parties this Halloween season. See what guests were sporting in my slideshow below.

PHOTOS: Harry Potter Festival 2014

This past weekend Chestnut Hill turned into Hogsmeade as the fourth annual Harry Potter Festival transformed Germantown Avenue into the magical world of witches, goblins, and wizards.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday night there was a pub crawl and costume contest. Saturday morning saw the “Hogswarts Express” filled with Harry Potter characters. The trolley arrived at Chestnut Hill West for a 10 a.m. opening ceremony conducted by Professor Albus Dumbledore (Walt Maguire) and Students from Chestnut Hill Colleges’ Mask & Foil Thespian Club dressed as J.K. Rowling’s famed characters. Chestnut Hill college student Dan Lemoine played Harry Potter to a tee for the third year in a row.

After the ceremony the characters and fans, many of who came dressed as Harry Potter characters or at least sported a witches hat or scarf, enjoyed one of the last days of Indian Summer, taking in the sights as well as all the Harry Potter activities that lined the street, like wand-making, dragon fire-breating and face-painting. Chestnut Hill restaurants offered Harry Potter-inspired edibles, like Golden Snitches and butter beer.

« Older Posts