HughE Dillon: Mark Segal’s Holiday Party

Who joined the sing-along at the Philadelphia Gay News publisher's annual bash?

The Saturday before Christmas is traditionally one of the busiest nights for party-hopping, and I had a few myself. I always like to start out at publisher Mark Segal’s Holiday Party in Society Hill. A political force in our city, Mark founded the Philadelphia Gay News, Philly’s largest and oldest publication targeted to the LGBT community, in 1976. His annual party always attracts high-powered guests, including politicians, activists, friends and community organizers, who might sometimes be at odds in the political forum, but come together to celebrate the season. Sometimes a few brave folks participate in his annual holiday sing-along. Saturday night’s chorus included DA Seth Williams, newly elected sheriff Jewell Williams, acting sheriff Barbara Deeley, Mayor Michael Nutter, Segal (in black sports jacket), and Councilman Mark Squilla (partially hidden behind Mark).

Below: Singing along from the sidelines were Rhonda Cohen (left), Marcia Gelbart, formerly the Inquirer‘s city hall bureau chief and now director of communications for Comcast’s community investment group, David L. Cohen, executive VP of Comcast, and Dan Anders, Common Pleas Court judge.

Below: Thom Cardwell, and someone who doesn’t need singing lessons, American Idol contestant Erika Schiff. Erika is gearing up for the Atlantic City Miss’d America drag pageant at A.C.’s historic Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, January 21st. Also pictured: her manager, Melanie Rice.

Below: Zack Harris and Greta Russo, Lotus Event Designs. Greta tells me she is working on the second annual Pets in the City Fashion Show. Who doesn’t love dogs sporting fashion, especially during the holidays? Spotted nearby was Senator Larry Farnese, columnist Stu Bykofsky, Micah Mahjoubian, CEO at Soapbox Solutions, CBS 3’s Jim Donovan, Gloria Casarez, Philadelphia’s director of LGBT Affairs, and Mickey Rowley. Rowley tells me that his Top of the Tower venue will host “cabaret Saturdays” next year. Look for Eddie Bruce, Karen Gross and others to entertain. It’ll be Philly’s answer to NYC’s Cafe Carlyle, but high above the city’s streets in the Bell Atlantic Tower at 18th and Arch.

Below: Always filled with holiday cheer, Bobbie Booker can get a grouch to crack a smile. Mike Sheridan and Jim Werner tell me they go to bed well before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve as it’s the eve of the Mummer’s parade and Jim marches with the Polish American String Band. The duo wake about 3 a.m. to begin preparations, including putting on the 30- to 50-pound costume and makeup, for the day-long festivities. Jim tells me that this year because of the Dilworth Plaza construction, the judging stand for the Mummers parade will now be near Love Park.

Below: Rex Rogosch and Wayne Knaub are still sporting their Florida tans, having just made a quick visit to the Keys last week. Mike Kiley-Zufelt, education specialist at American Red Cross, Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter, and Jim Kiley-Zufelt, VP at Tactile Design Group, just celebrated 25 years together. Mike tells me if he were choosing his favorite holiday songs they’d include 2000 Miles by The Pretenders.

Below: Adam Hymans, Patrick Hagerty and Joseph Goldberg. Patrick and Joseph are in the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. This Friday (12/23) the PGMC will be making a special appearance at the Holiday Dreams on Ice event starring Coatesville’s Johnny Weir and friends at Penn. The chorus will sing a Village People medley as Weir skates. Sounds great. I think I’ll go.

Below: Before I knew it, it was time to hit the next party. As I ran out the door I ran into PGN photographer Scott Drake, whose work I really admire. It takes a little coaxing to get a photographer to pose for a photo, I know; Scott was nice enough to oblige but “only in this decade,” he said. He’s with Tami Sortman, Pride Parade co-founder Franny Price, who also owns one of the few video stores left in town, Spruce Street Videos, and Chris Barlett, executive director of the William Way Center.