Unless you’re immersed in the Philly theater scene, you probably know Dito van Reigersberg only as Martha Graham Cracker, a hirsute drag queen with an innuendo-laden sense of humor and an impressive set of pipes who regularly delights the crowds at L’Etage and other venues around town. But van Reigersberg, a co-founder of Pig Iron Theatre Company, is temporarily trading in his signature persona for a slightly more conventional drag queen — one who lip-synchs instead of singing live — in Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride.
For its historical significance and attention to inclusion, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is the Philly Bi Visibility Rally. International Bi Visibility Day has been celebrated nationally since 1999, but this will be the first time Philadelphia has thrown an official rally for it. Sponsored by the Office of LGBT Affairs, the event plans to unite bisexuals and LGBTQ allies together with rainbow flags and signs proving that being bi is “not just a phase.” Read more »
National Legal Panel
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
National Museum of American Jewish History (Dell Theater)
101 South Independence Mall East (5th and Market streets)
The Equality Forum hosts a conversation around LGBTQ laws and policies with a panel of legal experts and activists fighting for equal rights. SCOTUS marriage equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell will be in the room to sign copies of his book, Love Wins. This event is free and open to the public. Read more »
Martha Graham Cracker at DNC @ Top of the Tower
On Tuesday, Equality PA is hosting Equality in the Sky, a Get Out the Vote fundraiser with Top of the Tower’s sweeping city views and a performance from Philly’s favorite — and seemingly busiest — drag queen, Martha Graham Cracker. Enjoy the show while rubbing shoulders with the political elite, including former governor/current chair of the DNC host committee Ed Rendell and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. Read more »
Philadelphia’s Gayborhood unites with public figures to support the victims of the Orlando Pulse shootings.
Since June 14th, owners and representatives from the Gayborhood’s most popular bars have joined forces to help host an event to support the victims of the tragic Orlando shootings at Pulse Nightclub. Called “Philly4Pulse,” these bar owners (including Tabu, ICandy, Knock, Woody’s, Tavern on Camac, and more) are putting on a huge one-night-only fundraiser with funds going directly to Equality Florida. “With 14 established bars coming together and pooling our contacts, resources, and energy, we have seen an unprecedented response from vendors, suppliers, volunteers,” said Tabu owner Jeffrey Sotland. “We have come together to support the community in ways we never imagined.” The July 21st event is slated to have participating bars feature over 30 local celebrity/public figure guest bartenders including Mayor Jim Kenney, Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley of Fox29, Rue Landau, and District Attorney Seth Williams. Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith, who helped organized the 1993 March on Washington, will also be at the event in support. In addition to the bar crawls, participating nightclubs will hold Latino-themed evenings as a way of recognizing the majority of the victims of the shooting. “This event is more about just raising money and bringing customers into the bars, Sotland said. “This event is about engagement and the bar owners are bringing Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, to Philadelphia to meet and engage with our community…she was 100% on board, when asked.” For more information on this upcoming event, check out the official Facebook event page. Read more »
My chat with Dito started a few minutes early because he feared he’d face a long commute going to his gig at People’s Light: It was the day that a man shot at a police offer on 676, and then proceeded to ram his car into a school bus.
“This is why we need art,” I said.
“Exactly,” he replied. “There’s a Leonard Bernstein quote about this.”
I believe I found the quote after a little searching: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Ironically enough, that’s exactly what van Reigersberg will be doing during his new show playing the Kimmel Center’s SEI Studio in December. Read more »
The idea came from our own Victor Fiorillo who, along with everyone else on the face of the planet, noticed the stream of “Straight Outta” memes flooding Facebook and Instagram.
Fiorillo, who is a member of Martha Graham Cracker’s fabulous band, decided to put a spin on the design and created this lovely little number, featuring Ms. Martha:
Here’s where things will get fun: Shoot us an email with a square-shaped photo that you want us to gay up. We’ll pick our favorites and feature them in all of their fabulous queerness in a post on Friday, August 14th.
Come on. You know you want to!
In drag queen years, she’s Betty White.
The delightful, insightful, and totally amazing Martha Graham Cracker turns 10 this month, and she’s not slowing down. She’ll be playing a packed show at New York City’s famed Joe’s Pub, and will return to her home town to celebrate her birthday at L’Etage next week. There’s no doubt that Martha is a different breed of Queen: She’s talented, got a full band to accompany her, and holds her audience captive through her daredevil musical routines. I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes from the high-in-demand lady to pick her brain about what makes her cabaret act so universal (and so darn fun).
When you first started the cabaret, did you ever imagine you’d make it to 10 years? Not at all. I took it one day at a time, or at least one show at a time, and I cannot express my gratitude enough to Jimmy and David, owners of L’Etage (and now the gorgeous Tavern on the Green in NYC!), who took a risk on me ten years ago and gave me the beautiful home-base/experimental-lab/launch-pad in the form of a monthly forum to find and refine Martha. The character, the interactive nature of the show, the astoundingly tight and responsive band….all those elements got better and more specific over that substantial period of time. And my styling has definitely improved. Martha was kind of disastrous aesthetically at first. Thanks to my wonderful style maven Max Brown, I can hold my head high whenever I hit the stage. Also Victor F. has been quite the shepherd and producer as well as pianist and first conceiver of many reimagined arrangements for pop tunes. I really couldn’t have done it without him. Read more »
Sure, all of those pride celebrations may be done, but that doesn’t mean that there are aren’t tons of great activities, parties, lectures, and events in LGBTQ Philly for the rest of June. We rounded up a calendar that should keep you super busy until the start of July.
Through the End of the Month
- Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene: Award-winning photographer Gerard Gaskin gives visitors an inside peek of ballroom culture at this exciting exhibit. Through August 16th, various times, free after museum admission, African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
- Speaking Out for Equality: This groundbreaking exhibit at the National Constitution Center profiles the Constitution, gay rights, and the Supreme Court. Through January 3rd, various times, free after museum admission, National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Odds are good you already missed the weirdest Beer Week event of the day–the Oxbow and Mike Fava lunch at Jose Pistola’s which was attended by two live owls–but have no fear. We combed through the entire schedule and picked three events happening tonight that are totally worth your attention.
There’s one for the beer lovers, one for the chef-stalkers and one for those of you who just love drag queens and glitter. And beer. But also glitter.
So check out our picks after the jump, won’t you? We would never steer you wrong.