Every week William Way Executive Director Chris Bartlett and I meet for a rummage through the LGBT community center’s John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives, a veritable treasure trove of relics from gay Philadelphia’s past.
Today, we share images picked from a bin of photos donated to the archives after it was discovered in the basement of late Philadelphia Gay News(PGN) photographer Harry Eberlin‘s longtime partner Richard DeMatt. The photos span the past few decades, and feature some local LGBT notables, like PGN publisher Mark Segal, Philly leather community matriarch Pearl, Woody’s founder and Knock owner Bill Wood, and even a baby-faced Ed Rendell.
We weren’t able to identify everyone, so feel free to comment below or email me if you recognize anyone in the photos.
Jonathan Beyer met his boyfriend of eight years, Brandon Cedel, when they were both students at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. They lived in Center City for a good number of years, where, as Beyer gleefully points out, they were once voted the “cutest couple” in their apartment building.
Five years ago Dr. Patrick Barrett began hosting a soiree in his apartment, where he’d ask guests to come in drag. He dubbed the party The Philly Beauty Ball, and it was apparently such a riot that it’s become become one of the year’s most-anticipated events. It’s a chance for those among us who are curious about drag but don’t want to glue on lashes and tuck our junk on a regular basis to see what we look like in a wig and a little rouge. But most importantly it’s a fun way to take part in the community and raise money for a good, local LGBT cause.
UPDATE 3/3/2014, 12: 11 p.m.: The answer is yes, there was a shooting at Woody’s, but it took place outside. I just got this from intrepid Philly Mag reporter Victor Fiorillo: “At 1:40 a.m. [Saturday morning], there was a fight outside Woody’s between two males. An unknown person fired a shot. Shooter described as unknown Hispanic male, approximately 25 years old. There were no arrests. Police do not have any reports of a shooting or other criminal activity inside the club.
A typical late night at Woody’s turned dangerous early Saturday morning when a gun was allegedly pulled and possibly fired at the Philadelphia gay nightclub.
Last night was supposed to be a regular evening for Gabriel Martino (aka Syfr Gavriel). He and some friends went to Woody’s Latin Night, where GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar just so happened to be hosting the first-ever Mr. SEXO contest. Martino’s friends talked him into competing and a few hours later he walked away with the title. “I’m still in some shock about last night,” he wrote on his Facebook wall, explaining to friends that he was chosen out of a crop of 10 contestants.
The contest was seeking a man who could represent GALAEI‘s sex-positive message, and Executive Director Elicia Gonzales says Martino hit the nail on the head. “I think the crowd chose him as winner, because he is hot, outgoing, fun, confident and not cocky,” she says.
Well that didn’t last long. The Paesano’s within Woody’s has closed. Announced through its Facebook page, no details were given as to why the less than two-month-old venture went kaput. Paesano’s promises to continue to deliver to “nearly every neighborhood” in the city.
Peter McAndrews continues to serve up Paesano’s Italian Style sandwiches from his Girard Avenue and Italian Market locations. He also is vending from within the Memories Lounge in Margate. McAndrews will also be serving his meatloaf parmesan (pictured above) and four other sandwiches this season at Lincoln Financial Field.
There’s also an important message about knowing your HIV status. Philadelphia FIGHT encourages anyone who is sexually active to get an HIV test every six months. Click here to find out where you can get your free test today.