R. Eric Thomas‘s most definitive life moments can be summarized by the songs of Patti LaBelle and Beyonce.
If you personally know the comedic storyteller, this isn’t news. However, when Thomas shares his fascination with “New Attitude” and “Get Me Bodied” with a room full of strangers, it’s, well, special. Now Philadelphians will have the chance to discover what’s been billed as “the best rock and roll storytelling event in New York” by Flavorpill; The Soundtrack Series is coming to Tin Angel on July 11, and it’s hosts, the incomparable Dana Rossi and Philadelphia’s own Thomas, promise to make this one music-inspired night that’ll keep you laughing and entertained. Read more »
Is there a more exhilarating sound to a concert-goer’s ears than Diana Ross wailing the opening notes to her signature hit “I’m Coming Out” from somewhere far off-stage? The 1980 hit and unofficial gay anthem has been a staple at Ross’s concerts since its debut, most frequently serving as her opener as she races through the audience, futzing with her always-gargantuan wrap, and singing. It’s a gambit that perfectly encapsulates the legendary performer’s appeal—it is both extravagant and intimate, the gesture of a true diva who still wants to be close to her fans.
Ross, who returned to Philadelphia last night after a 10-year absence, has not changed her M.O. The signature horn blasts of “I’m Coming Out” and Ross’s reedy voice shot out across the twilight before she’d set foot on the stage of the Mann Center. As part of the “In The Name of Love Tour,” the 70-minute Wednesday night concert was a reliable trip down memory lane, revisiting a surfeit of the former Supreme’s hits from the ’60s and ’70s. Indeed, the 34-year-old show opener was the most current of Ross’ hits to be performed.
7 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week: Queer Media Activism Series, Songbird Returns, Shut Up and Dance, and More
In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.
Today: Philly playwright, comedic storyteller and all-around hilarious person R. Eric Thomas. Since moving to Philly from Baltimore to chase down Patti Labelle (an adventure he describes in the video above), Thomas has racked up all kinds of accolades and achievements. He’s won two First Person Arts StorySlam competitions, he was invited to give a TedX talk, and he’s written and performed some of his most popular work, including Will You Accept This Friend Request, to sold-out crowds. He is currently working as an admin at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and continues to perform his unique style of “stand-up dramedy” around the city. You can catch him this week, in fact, when he hosts First Person Arts‘ annual Valentine’s Day story slam, “The Ex Files.” More info here.
William Way’s trying something a little different this holiday season with its first annual Holiday Extravaganza and Latin Carol Eve. It’s an evening of seasonal song and spoken word all in Latin. Philly comedic storyteller R. Eric Thomas will serve as host. To get in on the spirit of the occasion, he promises to perform a monologue in Latin. Translations will be available, but something tells me he’ll be hilarious even if you don’t know what he’s saying. The musical portion of the evening is a parade of yuletide favorites, like “Musicus Parvulus” (“Little Drummer Boy”), “Avia Renone Calcebatur” (“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”) and “Silentio Noctis” (you guessed it: “Silent Night”). 6 p.m., free, William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.
Playwright and stand-up dramedian, R. Eric Thomas, shares a life-changing moment of creative enlightenment through meeting his personal idol, Patti LaBelle.
Living in Baltimore and considering himself “creatively bankrupt,” he went against his better judgement and moved to Philadelphia, even though his preconceived notions of Philadelphia were entirely based off of the opening rap montage of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as the positively apocalyptic Avenue of the Arts shown in the movie Philadelphia. The city he now calls home is responsible for “waking him up” to a creative side he considered long gone until he found the innovative community he longed for through the nonprofit organization, First Person Arts.
In partnership with SMITH Magazine’s Six-Word Memoir Project, we asked you to submit your queer life stories—succinctly. Every day until we run out, we will present the most touching, poignant and hilarious entries in meme form. Today, one of Philly’s premier comedic storytellers, the always delightful R. Eric Thomas.
Tomorrow night, Tue., Oct. 22, Thomas will join D. Bruce Hanes, Julia Scotti, Liz Spikol, Kemar Jewel and Brian Seaman at our LGBT Six-Word Memoir Slam, where he will delve into the story behind his memoir. I’m guessing it will be some kind of LOL-worthy story about his adventures with online dating. To purchase a $10 ticket to the event, click here. And click here to see all our LGBT Six-Word Memoirs of the Day to date.