G Philly has teamed up with local filmmaker Kelly Burkhardt on a new monthly video series highlighting Philadelphia’s gay history. It’s done in anticipation of this year’s 50th anniversary celebrating the city—and nation’s—very first LGBT protests.
On October 24, 2014 we said goodbye to Gloria Casarez, one of the most prolific and impactful activists in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ history. We laughed. We cried. We waved our rainbow flags high and sang a phenomenal rendition of “Ella’s Song” at her funeral. As almost 900 people celebrated and mourned her life and legacy, I stood in the back of the church with a bundle of emotions churning inside me. I could not help but focus on the fact that yet another heroine/hero from our community had fallen.
In the moments after her death, it hit me that some of us may not know or may have forgotten how significant a role Philadelphia played in the modern LGBT civil rights movement. Do we realize that many of the freedoms we enjoy today started with local lesbian, gay and trans activists like Barbara Gittings, Ada Bello, Tyrone Smith and Kiyoshi Kuromiya? These folks stood at the forefront of making our city one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world?
A few months ago, in our recurring end-of-the-week column Philanthropy Friday, William Way Development Director Michael Pomante hinted that, after the success of last fall’s IndiGoGo, the Center would be hosting another one at Underground Arts this winter. Well he wasn’t kidding: Plans have been made, DJs have been booked. Indigogo: A Queer Polar Dance Party is, well, a go-go.
It only takes a scroll down your Instagram feed to realize that Philly is rife with LGBT sports. Whether it be kickball, dodgeball, or flag football, leagues are abounding, but, with little support from the City, many are struggling to find reliable playing venues and resources to keep them running efficiently.
Enter the next evolution of Philly LGBT sports: William Way’s newly formed Out Philadelphia Athletic League (OPAL)
Last week board members of the William Way voted to take on OPAL, an initiative created by six local sports enthusiasts that aims to establish a 501c3-eligible umbrella organization for all Philly LGBT sports teams.
William Way Community Center‘s IndiGoGo party was everything I hoped it would be. For the first time, the annual fundraiser brought together 11 Philly party producers who put on a hell of a shindig Saturday night at Underground Arts. The affair took up five (Six? I lost count) rooms within the Loft District venue—each featuring DJs, circus performers, go-go dancers, and there was even one where you could get spanked by porn star Colby Keller.
Former G Philly editor-in-chief and burgeoning local painter Natalie Hope McDonald is in a bit of a pickle this morning. It seems one of her paintings—a 12×12 abstract piece titled We Only Had Silence—was stolen from the William Way’s Homecoming auction. She donated it to the Center’s Homecoming auction in June.
This morning she posted a message on her Facebook wall asking, “if you know someone who has it, or if you know anything about what may have happened, please let me know. And if you do have the piece, please don’t destroy it. I ask that you drop it off at the center—no questions asked.”
If you have leads, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekend Roundup: Bev Offends the Masses, “Proud Exposures” Debuts at William Way, Back 2 Basics Returns and More
A new show is coming to Voyeur this Saturday that’s prefaced with a bold warning: “Not for the faint at heart or easily offended!” Bev, one of Philly’s best rising drag personalities, will put on a show fittingly called “We’ll See You In Hell.” No joke is off-limits. Everything is on the table.
If you’re looking for ways to give back to the community, you’d be hard pressed to find a more worthy recipient of your time and money than William Way. Philly’s only LGBT community center is like a big ol’ hug right in the middle of the Gayborhood. It’s been serving Philly’s queer community since 1976 with informative programs, activities, art shows, HIV testing, or just a welcoming place to stop in and rest your bum after a long day of strolling.
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.