PHOTOS: Time Is On Our Side Reading at William Way Center

It was an interesting juxtaposition at last evening’s reading of R. Eric Thomas‘ newest play Time Is On Our Side at the William Way Center; A portion of the script’s plot involves the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the auditorium where the reading took place was quite literally lined from floor to ceiling with actual patches from the quilt currently on display for World AIDS Day. Time Is On Our Side features many familiar elements of the Philly Gayborhood, including references to Tavern on Camac, Brian Sims, Chris Bartlett, and plenty of other gems. The full play is scheduled to be staged in 2016 at Simpatico Theatre Project. Last evening’s festivities was presented by PlayPenn, Philly’s professional new play development program, and featured Brandi Burgess, Kristen Norine, James Ijames, and David Bardeen playing lead roles in the Jarrod Markman directed reading. Check out our previous interview with the playwright, R. Eric Thomas, to learn more about the play and the workshop process.

INTERVIEW: R. Eric Thomas on his Gayborhood-Inspired Play

R. Eric Thomas

R. Eric Thomas

R. Eric Thomas wears a lot of hats: He’s the Program Director at the William Way Community Center, an award-winning storyteller, playwright, and Oprah fanatic. Therefore, it seems almost natural that Thomas would compose his newest fictional work about a group of Philly-based podcasters who explore the city’s LGBTQ history while uncovering a salacious secret.

The play, Time Is On Our Side, will get a full staging in June 2016 with Simpatico Theatre Project, but for those who can’t quite wait that long, no worries: PlayPenn, Philadelphia’s professional new play development organization, will be offering a free reading of the work next Monday, December 7th at the William Way Center starting at 6:30 pm. The reading cast features a host of notable actors, including Brandi Burgess, Kristen Norine, James Ijames, and David Bardeen. We sat down with Thomas to talk about his work, what inspires him, and what we can expect to see from him next.

Tell me more about what inspired you to write this work. A couple of things actually—The “Pride and Progress” mural on the side of the [William Way] Center, which depicts a Gay Pride celebration that spans decades and begins with the Annual Reminder protests; the podcast Serial, which tells a terrifically engrossing true-life mystery while ruminating on the nature of storytelling; the podcast Throwing Shade, which hilariously comments on modern social justice issues; and the rumor that the basement of Tavern on Camac used to be a stop on the Underground Railroad. Read more »

Forget Patti Pies: William Way Center Hosting Gay Thanksgiving Weekend

Patti LaBelle

From Patti LaBelle’s Cooking Channel show.

If you’ve been stalking Walmart shelves waiting for a shipment of Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie, I have a better suggestion: Head on over to the William Way LGBT Community Center this weekend for gatherings that are surely better than trampling over people to get a big screen television set at Best Buy. Read more »

PHOTOS: Exciting Announcements Made at Last Night’s IBA and OPAL Mixer

Last evening, members of the greater Philadelphia LGBT chamber of commerce, the Independence Business Alliance (IBA), teamed up with the Out Philadelphia Athletic League (OPAL) to host their monthly mixer at Field House. Along with valuable networking opportunities for LGBT professionals and their allies, the night also brought several big announcements.

Jeff Sotland, who serves as board chair at the William Way Center, told the crowd that Braeden Lange, the young Pennsylvania lacrosse player who was recently featured on ESPN, and his parents will receive a special award at the upcoming William Way Indigo Ball on October 10. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund’s Executive Director Samantha Giusti shared that her organization is offering the IBA a scholarship for a LGBT student who is studying business and will match funds up to $15,000. OPAL also announced that they will be teaming up with the You Can Play Project to provide grassroots support for LGBT athletes in the Philadelphia area.

We were on hand to capture the guests at the event, and stay tuned for information about other future IBA mixers on G Philly.

Defiant Archives Exhibit on Trans Histories Transferring to City Hall

From the "Defiant Archives" opening at the William Way Community Center.

From the “Defiant Archives” opening at the William Way Community Center.

The William Way Center‘s Defiant Archives exhibit, which highlighted trans Philadelphia history and activism, is living on. The collection of materials, artwork, documents, and video will be transferring to a huge, new prominent venue: outside the mayor’s office at Philadelphia City Hall. Read more »

25 Gay Things to Do in Philly This September

Madonna is headed to the City of Brotherly Love this month. Photo via Shutterstock.

Madonna is headed to the City of Brotherly Love this month. Photo via Shutterstock.

The Pope who? There’s a lot more going on in Philadelphia this September besides a visit from the Vatican. We rounded up 25 LGBT events, shows, and minglers that will keep you busy during back to school season.

Faced with Discrimination Photobooth: Equality Pennsylvania is teaming up with the William Way Community Center for this free event where guests can take a picture and describe why discrimination is a problem that isn’t just theoretical. Thursday, September 3rd, 11 am, free, William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street

Sharon Needles: The RuPaul icon “with the look of a cover model and the soul of a shoe” will be at Kung Fu Necktie for a one-nigh only show, featuring the Haus of Ham and The Homophones. Thursday, September 3rd, 7 pm, $20-50, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 North Front Street

FringeArts Festival 2015: There’s so many queer performances at this year’s FringeArts Fest that we’d be here all day if we listed all of them: everything from You Are the Hero to Not For Profit to Growing Into My Beard. In short, there’s something for everyone. Opens Thursday, September 3rd, various times, prices, and locations
Read more »

William Way Community Center Offering LGBT Alternative to Papal Visit

william way community center

The William Way LGBT Community Center is offering a series of alternative programming during the upcoming World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit in hopes to appeal to those in the LGBTQ community that may feel alienated or unwelcome during the plethora of Catholic activities that are taking place in Philadelphia.

The “Celebration of Inclusive Family” will take place September 25 through the 26 and will feature performances, art exhibits, and services available to anyone who wishes to take part in them. Read more »

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