VIDEO: Singer-Songwriter Joshua Thomas at Tin Angel

joshua thomas singer tin angel

There’s something about seeing shows at Tin Angel that leaves me, as Whitney would say, so emotional, baby. The cozy, narrow room. Romantic, candle-lit tables. The music. The last time I saw a show there, a Girls Rock Philly affair, I was literally moved to tears during one singer’s rendition of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You.” On the stage she stood, hitting all those high notes, while I sat below sobbing like a baby, enamored by the gorgeous sound that was coming out of her mouth. I had a similar experience last night when seeing Joshua Thomas.

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WATCH: New Lesbian Series

Lesbian Nurse Jackie meets The L Word? That’s the premise for a new lesbian web series – Easy Abby - created by Wendy Jo Carlton. The smart new show’s set in Chicago, and is based around a main character who suffers from a kind of anxiety disorder that is only really soothed by seducing women – lots and lots of women. And while Carlton and company have already shot about half of the first season to be streamed online, they’ve launched an Indigogo campaign to help raise a few more bucks to finish a few more episodes.

Check it out:

RECAP: Madonna in Philly

The showtime posted on the tickets for last night’s Madonna show in Philadelphia—the kickoff date of her North American MDNA Tour—was 8 p.m., although some people thought it was supposed to start as early as 7 p.m. So it’s no surprise that with no sign of the enduring 54-year-old pop star by 9:30 p.m., fans are starting to get restless.

At 9:35 p.m., the follow spot operators get into position, strapped into their pods high above the stage, seemingly an indication that things are about to begin. 9:50 p.m., a gentleman emerges to test a wireless microphone, walking the perimeter of the triangular catwalk that jutted out into the capacity crowd of 20,000. 9:52 p.m., another mic test. And another. And then another. And another. No, seriously. Another. He took his microphone testing stroll, and quite the relaxed stroll it was, as many as 10 times. Still no Madonna.

With the time at 10:15 p.m. on a weeknight, the first “bull-shit” chants ring out. Bull. Shit. Bull. Shit. Bull. Shit. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” says the guy behind me. “She has until 10:30, and then we’re out of here.” The subject of refunds emerges on Twitter. At 10:23 p.m., the full-on “boos” begin while the neighbor to my right shows me her ticket and points out, “$355 per ticket,” with her companion adding that this was after paying to join the fan club just to gain access to the pre-sale. “She forgot she’s in Philly. They boo Santa Claus here.” The boos roar.

Click here to read the entire review.

Madonna’s Poem About Tonight’s Show

Photography by Frank Micelotta

As Madonna kicks off her North American MDNA Tour in Philly tonight (will we see tumbleweeds in the Gayborhood?), she shared a poem via her publicist that tackles some of the criticism she’s been fielding about the gun imagery, feuds (think she has Elton in mind?) and much more.

What do you think? Is Madge a regular Lady Byron?

My show
Is a journey.
The journey of a soul from darkness to light
It is part cinematic musical theatre.
Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art.

But above all its a journey
From darkness to light
From anger to love
from chaos to order.

It’s true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns – but they are used as metaphors.
I do not condone violence or the use of guns.
Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings  that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case its wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life
and in some cases  the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.

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Weekend Roundup

Crawl Space (courtesy of William Way)

Friday, August 24

GayFest! continues through the weekend. Click here for a full listing of shows.

Raw Ladi Boi Jell-O Wrestling (yes, Jell-O wrestling) benefits Philly Gay Calendar and Southern Jersey GLBTQ Pride (5:30 p.m.) at the William Way. There’s an open bar and music by DJs Carl Michaels and Mary Mac.

Check out Crawl Space: The Attic Experience (6 p.m.) during the closing reception at William Way.

Join DJ Robert Drake for The End of Summer Pool Party (9 p.m.) at North Shore Beach Club. He’s spinning lots of new wave.

DJ Deejay spins MMP (10 p.m.) at the Barbary, named as the Best Nightclub this year by Philadelphia magazine.

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The Gayest Moments of the Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremonies of the Olympics were star-studded, to say the least. Not only did they resurrect Freddie Mercury in a video filmed more than two decades ago at Wembley Stadium, but a few of our favorite 80s and 90s pop stars also made an appearance, including George Michael, the Pet Shop Boys, Spice Girls and Annie Lennox, alongside newer acts like Jessie J.

Some of the gayest moments:

George Michael at the Olympics (courtesy of Facebook)

At 49, an older and grayer George Michael has become a veritable leather daddy. Sporting his signature coiffed facial hair (though a little more hardcore than ever before), the former Wham! man was dressed in head-to-toe leather with a skull belt buckle as he sang “Freedom 90,” a crowd-pleaser with a deeper message, presumably, about coming out. Remember the great video with the cavalcade of supermodels back in the day?

While NBC edited the show (a low point), Michael also sang his newest track – “White Light” – about his near fatal disease last year. And while some in the British press are accusing the singer of using “the greatest party on earth” to promote his new single, we thought it was a great comeback to be in the news for music rather than his usual escapades.

The Pet Shop Boys in designs by Gareth Pugh (courtesy of Facebook)

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys also dazzled with a spot-on rendition of the duo’s “West End Girls.” The electronic twosome showed up in what can only be described as large-scale origami – bird-like contraptions on their heads and on the heads of the guys that guided them along the staging area by avant-garde designer Gareth Pugh.

Of course, Annie Lennox took grandiose staging to a new height with a ghost ship theme for her lesser known hit “Little Bird.” The short-haired chanteuse took a page from Tim Burton as she sailed around the arena with lots of extras. It wasn’t clear who was lipsyncing and who wasn’t at times during the show (except maybe for Russell Brand, whose megaphoned performance of “I am the Walrus” didn’t change an iota when he actually put down the megaphone), but we like to think the former Eurythmics hit-maker was really hitting those notes after all these years.

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Laughing at Transgender Comedy

Rae Drew performing for the first time as an out transgender artist at the July 2010 Queer Memoir Show in West Philly (courtesy of Quince Productions)

When it comes to transgender comedy, most mainstream jokesters walk a thin line. But among transgender performers themselves, all bets seem to be off. At least that’s the idea behind LOL @ Gender, a one-night-only evening of comedy, poetry and music (Aug. 26) that pokes a little fun at gender as we know it.

Leading the performers is Rae Drew, a standup transgender comic in Philly who started an online campaign – 7000 People Project – in part, to help finance transgender surgery and to shed a little lights on Drew’s own artistic express and search of self. The insightful twentysomething talks to us about why transgender comedy can be taboo, but why we all need to laugh at ourselves sometimes.

How does the comedy world react to transgender comedians these days?

I don’t consider myself to really be too “immersed” in the comedy world, actually. I mostly write fiction and poetry and I like to do comedy off and on again on the side when the mood strikes me. However, the comedians that I’ve shared the stage with in Philly have been some of the most supportive people of my journey. One fellow comedian even had a benefit in my honor (funds to benefit my surgery) and another comedian let me talk about my surgery fundraiser on his show. Others always ask how things are going and are excited for new developments in my journey. Although being transgender is probably the most important thing about my identity, I think the key is just to be a down-to-earth, relatable person first, and transgender second.

There have been some controversies along the way when straight comics make jokes about the transgender experience. But what can transgender comics bring to the table?

I think transgender comics have an opportunity to bring a living, breathing human experience to the stage to combat the myriad of jokes that ignorant (in the true sense of the world) comedians – and the world at large – are constantly making at the expense of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Laughter is the best medicine and transgender comics truly have a chance to cure some of the nasty stigma and misunderstanding by way of funny jokes and stories about our lives. You have to have some sort of sense of humor to be trans, I think. At least every trans person I know has a funny story about being trans.

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Weekend Roundup

Friday, August 3

GayFest kicks off with Misters and Sisters (courtesy of Quince Productions)

The Phreak ‘N Queer Festival continues through Sunday. Click here for a full list of events.

Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Art After 5 features Siren Baroque, an all-women’s chamber ensemble from New York (5 p.m.).

Wiz Khalifa plays the Susquehanna Bank Center (5:30 p.m.).

The Bang Group kicks off GayFest (7 p.m.) with Misters and Sisters at Plays and Players Theatre with an after-party to follow at Quig’s Pub.

The Philly Dyke March is calling all same-sex couples to the Chick-fil-A on Columbus Blvd. for a kiss-in (8 p.m.) to protest the chain’s opposition to gay rights and marriage equality.

BlackStar Film Festival presents Restless City (8 p.m.) at the International House. The film tells the story of a young man struggling on the fringes of New York City.

Sex Dwarf celebrates its ninth anniversary (9 p.m.) at Fluid Nightclub with non-stop New Wave. Guests are encouraged to wear red and black for a chance to win free tickets to a screening of Mommie Dearest on Aug. 11.

Thank Goddess It’s OMG! (9 p.m.) is at Tabu featuring The Goddess Isis, Anita Manhattan, Lil’ Steph and Stella D’Oro.

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Weekend Roundup

Friday, July 6

Courtesy of Robyn

The HRC will be at Camp Rehoboth in Rehoboth Beach, Del., through the weekend to sign up new members (9 a.m.).

Also in Rehoboth, the Possum Point Players present A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Henlopen Acres (4 p.m.).

Butch Cordora opens his latest photo show “Hot and Busted” at Ven and Vaida (6 p.m.) featuring mug shots of real-life (alleged) criminals. “I chose the most striking arrestees,” says Cordora.

Crawl to other art galleries during Guys Night Out for First Friday (5:30 p.m.). The walking tour takes off from William Way LGBT Community Center to Old City.

Listen to cabaret in the premiere room at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (8 p.m.) in Asbury Park, N.J.

Robyn plays for the second night at Wells Fargo Center (8 p.m.) with Coldplay.

Tabu presents Thank Goddess it’s OMG (9 p.m.) with Goddess Isis, Candy Mayhem, Porcelain and the women of Screw Smart.

Kanye West plays the Revel in Atlantic City (8 p.m.).

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