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pgn Philadelphia Gay News LGBT NEWS SINCE 1976

Vol. 42 No. 28 July 13-19, 2018

Babs Siperstein: “I truly feel like a first-class citizen” PAGE 2

Miss Gay Pennsylvania: Tatiana Clark





SCOTUS nominee bad news for LGBT rights

Internal Affairs file for Morris incident lacks key evidence

By Adriana Fraser

By Timothy Cwiek The official Internal Affairs Division investigative file for the Nizah Morris incident was released last week but doesn’t contain key evidence about the 2002 murder, including a police report written by an officer who responded to Morris and part of a patrol log filled out by another responding officer. Morris was a trans woman of color who was found by passersby with a fatal head injury, shortly after she received a Center City courtesy ride from Officer Elizabeth Skala in December 2002. Morris died two days later, and, more than 15 years later, her murder remains unsolved. After IAD completed its Morris investigation in 2005, PGN requested a copy of the file. However, city attorneys maintained its contents were confidential. On July 5, they reversed their position and released a copy of the file. Prior to its release, trans attorney Julie Chovanes indicated she would file a civil action to procure the file, if necessary. “We are continuing to make progress on the goal of city transparency with respect to the death of Nizah Morris,” Chovanes told PGN this week. The 46-page IAD file includes the front side of a double-sided patrol log filled out by Officer Kenneth Novak on the morning of Morris’ head injury. But the file doesn’t include the log’s reverse side, which contains its only entries relating to Morris. Novak and Skala were dispatched to investigate Morris outside the old Key West Bar, where she was intoxicated, during the predawn hours of Dec. 22, 2002. Skala arrived at Key West first and reportedly gave Morris a three-block ride to the area of 16th and Walnut streets — where passersby found Morris bleeding from a head wound. It remains unclear why Skala only transported Morris three blocks when the ride was supposed to terminate at her home in West Philadelphia. Several years after Morris’ death, PGN obtained a copy of PAGE 6

Arleen Olshan will take over as MAAG executive director

Cirque du Soleil’s Volta is illuminating and electrifying

CAN’T SMILE WITHOUT YOU: Borgata Hotel, Casino and

Spa is throwing itself a 15th birthday bash through the summer and kicked it off with a food and entertainment party in the Borgata parking lot June 7. Barry Manilow (inset) performed for packed houses July 6-7 as part of the celebration. Upcoming LGBT favorites include Britney Spears July 19-21 and Cher Aug. 17-18, concluding the summer with the Miss’d America fundraiser Out at Borgata Presents Pride Bingo Sept. 1. Party photo: Scott A. Drake; inset

photo courtesy of Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa

President Trump nominated conservative judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to fill the vacant seat in the U.S. Supreme Court in a move that will likely threaten the rights of LGBTQ Americans, say advocates. “It comes as no surprise that Kavanaugh was Trump’s pick. What’s more concerning is if he is confirmed, he will play a major role in rolling back our protections for LGBTQ people, possibly chipping away at the Affordable Care Act and disintegrate the Roe v. Wade decision,” said Stacey Long Simmons, director of advocacy and action for the Washington, D.C.based National LGBTQ Task Force. Kavanaugh, 53, a federal appeals-court judge in the District of Columbia, has a long history of conservative ties. The nominee served as a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Kennedy in 1993. He later became a prosecutor, working under Ken W. Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, and then as staff secretary to President George W. Bush. On abortion-related issues, Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting

opinion in 2017 about whether a pregnant 17-year-old being held by immigration authorities was allowed to leave custody to obtain an abortion. The court ruled with a Texas judge that the teenager was legally entitled to an abortion, while Kavanaugh dissented by requesting the government to release the girl to an adult sponsor. Kavanaugh was also backed by the anti-LGBTQ group Family Research Council. Adrian Shanker, executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, believes that, despite clerking for him, Kavanaugh will likely not emerge as a version of Justice Kennedy. “LGBTQ Americans deserve a fair-minded court. Justice Kennedy was a fair-minded justice and the nominee that is likely to replace him doesn’t seem to share those values,” Shanker said. “Kavanaugh does not reflect Kennedy’s legacy, and the difference will be palpable. “It is important that we continue to advance LGBT progress at every level of government — from school boards to federal-policy change.” Justin Robinette, a civil-rights lawyer based in Philadelphia, said the nominee “could be worse.” “Kavanaugh PAGE 13

City releases Bethany’s antibias policy By Timothy Cwiek Philadelphia officials last week released a new antibias policy enacted by a Christian agency that receives city funds to provide foster-care services for children in the city’s custody. Officials say the new policy provides adequate antibias protections for the LGBT community, but some advocates disagree.

Bethany Christian Services of the Greater Delaware Valley came under scrutiny in March after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the agency turned away a lesbian couple who wanted to serve as foster parents. The city initiated an investigation of its 30 foster-care providers and determined that Catholic Social Services also discriminates against same-sex couples in the provision of foster-care services on behalf of the city.

Foster-child referrals to both agencies were promptly suspended pending the investigation’s outcome. On June 29, city officials resumed referring foster-care children to Bethany after the agency adopted an antibias policy that putatively covers the LGBT community. Foster-child referrals to CSS remain suspended. But in May, CSS filed suit in federal court to have the referrals resumed. The case remained pending at press time.

Bethany’s antibias policy, which the city released July 6, states in part: “It is the policy of Bethany Christian Services of the Greater Delaware Valley that no employee or volunteer will discriminate against any client or potential client (including, but not limited to, potential foster parent, foster parent, children, youth or families) in the provision of services in a manner that violates any applicable local, state, or PAGE 8 federal law

ber. and



Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

Resource listings Legal resources • ACLU of Pennsylvania: 215-592-1513; • AIDS Law Project of PA: 215-587-9377; • AIDS Law Project of South Jersey: 856-784-8532; • Equality PA: equalitypa. org; 215-731-1447

• Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations — Rue Landau: 215-686-4670

Trans honoree feels like ‘first-class citizen’

• Philadelphia Police Liaison Committee: 215-7603686; • SPARC — Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition: 717-920-9537

• Office of LGBT Affairs — Amber Hikes: 215-686-0330;

Community centers • The Attic Youth Center; 255 S. 16th St.; 215-545-4331, For LGBT and questioning youth and their friends and allies. • LGBT Center at the University of Pennsylvania; 3907 Spruce

St.; 215-898-5044,

• Rainbow Room: Bucks County’s LGBTQ and Allies Youth Center

Salem UCC Education Building, 181 E. Court St., Doylestown; 215-957-7981 ext. 9065,

• William Way LGBT Community Center 1315 Spruce St.; 215-732-2220,

Health and HIV testing • Action Wellness: 1216 Arch St.; 215981-0088,

• AIDS Library:

1233 Locust St.;

• AIDS Treatment Fact line: 800-6626080

• Bebashi-Transition to Hope: 1235 Spring Garden St.; 215769-3561;

• COLOURS:, 215832-0100 • Congreso de Latinos Unidos;

216 W. Somerset St.; 215-763-8870

• GALAEI: 149 W. Susquehanna Ave.; 267-457-3912, Spanish/ English

• Health Center No. 2, 1720 S. Broad

St.; 215-685-1821

• Mazzoni Center:

1348 Bainbridge St.; 215-563-0652,

• Philadelphia FIGHT: 1233 Locust St.; 215-985-4448,

• Washington West Project of Mazzoni Center:

1201 Locust St.; 215985-9206

• Transgender Health Action Coalition: 215-732-1207

Other • Independence Branch Library Barbara Gittings Gay and Lesbian Collection: 215-685-1633 • Independence Business Alliance; 215-557-0190,

• LGBT Peer Counseling Services: 215-732-TALK • PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Philadelphia): 215-572-1833 • Philly Pride Presents: 215-875-9288

Photo: NJ Governor’s Press Office

By Timothy Cwiek Barbra “Babs” Siperstein, a longtime trans advocate who recently had a New Jersey law named after her, said the gesture makes her feel like a “first-class citizen.” “I truly feel like a first-class citizen with the enactment of this law,” Siperstein told PGN. “And the icing on the cake is having it named after me.” N.J. Senate Bill 478 allows trans people born in the state to obtain birth certificates that accurately reflect their gender without undergoing gender-confirmation surgery. The bill was passed by the New Jersey Senate June 7 and signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on July 2. Siperstein, 75, said she was “humbled” to be present with family and friends at the bill-signing ceremony. “I’m very pleased,” she said. “I wanted to have a bill-signing ceremony and it happened.” The new law provides an option for a “non-binary” designation on a trans birth certificate, which only three other states allow. “I believe New Jersey is setting an example for other states — certainly for other progressive states and possibly for people in less-progressive states that are open to trans rights,” Siperstein said. Murphy gave her the pen he used to sign the legislation.

“I’m saving the pen,” Siperstein said. “Right now, it’s in a curio cabinet with political memorabilia. I intend to frame it and have it prominently displayed in my residence.” She pointed out that Murphy also signed two other trans-related bills during the ceremony. One allows for death certificates in New Jersey to accurately reflect the gender of a trans decedent. The other creates a statewide transgender-rights task force, on which Siperstein hopes to serve. “It was a wonderful day,” she said. “I’ve always been treated well by the governor and the bill-signing ceremony was no exception. The outpouring of support and congratulations stemming from this honor has been deeply gratifying.” Aaron Potenza, director of programs for Garden State Equality, said he worked behind the scenes with N.J. Assemblywoman Valerie V. Huttle and her staff to draft the language for the bill, including adding a non-binary option. Potenza was unable to attend the bill-signing ceremony due to a prior commitment, but said he was “with Babs in spirit.” “Babs is a fantastic advocate who has been a mentor and friend to a generation of trans activists,” Potenza said. “We are all thrilled that the bill was named for her. I can think of no one more deserving of the honor.” n

AIDS Law Project to hold fundraiser The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania will hold its 19th annual Summer Movie Party to raise funds for the agency on July 20. “In these trying times, supporting the vital work of the AIDS Law Project is a great way to do your part,” said Ronda B. Goldfein, executive director of the agency. The event begins with a party at 6 p.m at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. At 7:30 p.m., the

movie “Desire” will be screened, featuring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. Film historian Richard Barrios will be in attendance to discuss the film. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For more information, call 215-5879377 or go to n -- Timothy Cwiek


Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

You can find a copy of PGN at these locations:

Chester County

10 — Creep of the Week Editorial 11 — Mark My Words Op-Ed Street Talk

Phoenixville • Artisans Gallery and Cafe, 234 Bridge St. • Steel City, 203 Bridge St. • Spring City • Spring Hollow Golf Club, 2250 Schuylkill Road • West Chester • Chester County Books, 975 Paoli Pike •


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7 — Thinking Queerly: Depression myths 8 — Out Money: Checklist for retirement 24 — Off the Shelf: “Grey Gardens” returns

Arts & Culture

17 — Feature: Miss Gay Pennsylvania 18 — Comics 19 — Family Portrait 21 — Scene in Philly 22 — Out & About 24 — Q Puzzle

Family Portrait: Marianna Coppola brings an Italian eye to botanical arrangements.

Managing Editor

Kristen Demilio (ext. 215)

Advertising Sales Joe Bean (ext. 219)

Staff Writers Adriana Fraser (ext. 206)

Prab Sandhu (ext. 212)

Larry Nichols (ext. 213)

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Writer-at-Large Timothy Cwiek (ext. 208)

“The more we are able to understand that depression is an illness just in the way diabetes or asthma or any other physical ailment is, the less inclined those suffering from depression will be to keep their illness a secret and a point of shame.” ~ Kristina Furia, Thinking Queerly, page 7



C r e e p o f t h e We e k : M i l o Yiannopoulos believes that his call to kill journalists was funny.

PGN 505 S. Fourth St. Philadelphia, PA 19147-1506

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Dining Out: Main & Vine presents several tasty twists to classic cuisine.

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Scott A. Drake (ext. 210) 267-736-6743 Graphic Artist Sean Dorn (ext. 211)

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The inside story of “Grey Gardens” from the marble faun himself: Jerry Torre.

Copyright © 1976 - 2018 Copyright(s) in all materials in these pages are either owned or licensed by Masco Communications Inc. or its subsidiaries or affiliate companies (Philadelphia Gay News, PGN, and it’s WWW sites.) All other reproduction, distribution, retransmission, modification, public display, and public performance of our materials is prohibited without the prior written consent of Masco Communications. To obtain such consent, email Published by Masco Communications Inc. © 1976-2018 Masco Communications Inc. ISSN-0742-5155

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


Meet Mt. Airy Art Garage’s new executive director By Adriana Fraser Mt. Airy Art Garage has named a co-founder who is a former owner of Giovanni’s Room as its newest executive director. Arleen Olshan is taking the reins at MAAG now that her wife, Linda Slodki, stepped down from the position. Slodki served as the executive director since the organization’s inception in 2009. The nonprofit arts organization supports and connects local multi-disciplined artists through workshops, exhibits and community projects in partnership with organizations in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. Olshan, a visual artist and master leather crafter, said she wanted to created a hub for local artists to share their techniques while developing their art. “When I retired from social work and being a teacher, I wanted to open a storefront to showcase my work and the work of other artists within the community,” Olshan said. “We started off with an arts and handcrafts market where neighbors could bring their

families and friends to eat, drink, buy special gifts and support artists. We’ve since transitioned into being an arts cooperative bringing together artists of all disciplines and providing them with an opportunity to create, exhibit and distribute their fine arts and handcrafts.” Olshan owned Giovanni’s Room, the oldest LGBTQ bookstore in the country, with Ed Hermance from 1976-86. During that time, Olshan and Hermance wholesaled gay and lesbian books from all over the world — but for Olshan, the dream was to get back to artwork. MAAG’s beginnings started in a garage provided by Weaver’s Way Co-Op in Mt. Airy in 2009. The following year, the organization moved into a bigger space, located at 11 W. Mt. Airy Ave., which housed the art hub for five years. Slodki and Olshan were left scrambling to find MAAG a new home when the building’s landlord chose not to renew the lease in 2016. Slodki said the loss of the space “was the biggest challenge that MAAG faced.”

“It was devastating to lose a space we invested so much into, but it helped us to build deeper community connections,” Slodki said. “The community rallied around the art garage and stepped up with helping us find a new home.” Olshan and Slodski moved

MAAG into its current headquarters — a small handcraft pop-up gift shop and gallery at 6622 Germantown Ave. that the owners opened shortly after moving out of MAAG’s previous space. Mt. Airy USA, a communitydevelopment organization, partnered with MAAG in 2016 to


develop a multi-use space at 6651 Germantown Ave. that will house MAAG and other tenants. The new space has been in development for the last two years and there is no fixed date to move in. MAAG recently completed its “Community of Pride” mural and literacy project in collaboration with the Eleanor C. Emlen Elementary School, a project MAAG started in 2016 to engage students to use art as a means of communication. Students displayed and sold their original artwork at an exhibit hosted at the Lovett Memorial Library June 9. Olshan said that the delay in moving into MAAG’s new home is not slowing down the art garage’s efforts to move forward with projects and community partnerships. “Despite the setbacks, we are still moving forward with what we envisioned for the art garage. Our priorities haven’t changed. I have a lot to learn with this new position but we will continue to promote civic engagement and community revitalization through the arts.” n

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018



Gay web series explores life after coming out By Adriana Fraser A gay web series set in Philadelphia about life after coming out has won an award in a worldwide avant-garde short-film competition. “Interested In” won the Best in Merit Award in the Best Shorts Competition’s LGBT short-film category June 19. The Best Shorts Competition recognizes established and up-and-coming film and media makers who submit films or web series that are 57 minutes or less. “Interested In” chronicles the journey of a college student discovering more about his sexual identity after he comes out. Set in the Gayborhood, the story follows the protagonist, Parker, as he stumbles through various hookup encounters. Parker goes into each encounter unsure of what to expect and leaves with a new understanding of his identity and sexual freedom. The series was adapted from a play of the same name by its creator, New York-based director, writer and actor Michael Witkes. “It’s called ‘Interested In’ because of how nervous I was to change my status to ‘interested in men’ when I came out,” Witkes said. “It was so nerve-wracking and a monumental moment. Those simple words meant so much.” Witkes, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, MORRIS from page 1

Novak’s log. Its reverse side contains entries that document Morris as a “hospital case” from start to finish. Yet Novak admitted to homicide investigators in 2003 that he didn’t consider Morris to be a “hospital case” during the courtesy ride. Thus, his log entries remain puzzling. Novak’s exact whereabouts during the ride are unclear. In his 2005 IAD interview, Novak said he was driving his police car in the general vicinity of the courtesy ride, but didn’t come across Skala. He also indicated he knew very little about the ride. “I didn’t speak to P/O Skala about Ms. Morris,” he told an interviewer, and the subject wasn’t pursued. Skala’s patrol log, which is included in its entirety in the IAD file, has vague entries documenting the Morris incident as “H/C” — an abbreviation for “hospital case.” In an interview that’s included in the IAD file, Skala isn’t questioned about her “H/C” designation for Morris. Also not included in the IAD file is a police report written by Officer Thomas Berry, who responded to Morris at 16th and Walnut streets after her head injury. Prior to writing his report, Berry went to Jefferson University Hospital, where Morris’ attending physician voiced concern that she was a crime victim. Yet Berry’s report — which

wrote “Interested In” as a play in his junior year of college. In 2015, brought the play to the Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival in New York and Quince Production’s GayFest! in Philadelphia. Witkes transformed the play into a web series last year, because, he said, the 12-scene play felt more episodic and would work better as a series. Through the help of an Indiegogo crowd-fundraising campaign, Witkes was able to raise more than $5,000 to create the web series. The series chronicles Witkes’ own journey to understanding what it meant to identify as a gay man while learning the other labels associated with being gay. “When I came out, I didn’t know how to navigate that confusing and eye-opening time, so I wanted to create something that addressed what happens after someone comes out,” he said. “After coming out, I learned about so many other different labels such as ‘twink,’ ‘bear,’ ‘cubs’ and ‘otters.’ The series unpacks how some people don’t easily fit into a category or don’t identify with the label that everyone else puts on them.” The five episodes of the series are four-six minutes each, a format the creator said was intentional. “The episodes are purposely short. Gay-dating culture is a lot of short-term glimpses into people’s lives that oftentimes, in my experience, don’t last beyond a night of hooking up,” Witkes said. n

wasn’t released in its entirety until 2011 — documents the Morris incident as a “hospital case” all the way from the beginning of the police intervention, with no mention of the possibility that Morris was a crime victim. Additionally, Berry’s report

included in the IAD file. But several years after Morris’ death, PGN obtained a copy of Berry’s log and it corroborates the logs of Novak and Skala: All of them Berry’s log entries document the Morris incident as a hospital case from start to finish. Advocates for Advocates for Morris have Morris have long been concerned that all long been concerned that three officers colluded and falsified official all three officers colluded records to conceal and falsified official records from supervisors the courtesy ride and subin order to conceal from sequent crime against supervisors the courtesy Morris. IAD investigators ride and subsequent crime determined in 2005 committed against Morris. that Skala violated two police directives in fails to mention the courtesy the handling of a hospital case ride — though Berry admitted to and the handling of an “intoxiinvestigators that he knew about cated person in police custody.” the ride and was present when However, the file doesn’t contain Morris exited Skala’s vehicle. information regarding the type It also remains unclear why of discipline Skala received, if Berry wrote a report about the any. Morris incident rather than Skala Novak and Berry weren’t or Novak. Typically, a respond- cited for any departmental vioing officer doesn’t write a report lations, according to the IAD about a hospital case unless the file. A police spokesperson had officer transports the person no comment regarding the issue somewhere. It was Skala who of discipline in the Morris case. transported Morris three blocks, The spokesperson also had no not Berry. At Jefferson, Novak comment about the IAD file assumed control of the investi- not including the reverse side gation, yet he inexplicably had of Novak’s patrol log, Berry’s Berry write a report. police report and Berry’s patrol Berry’s patrol log isn’t log. n


5 myths about depression debunked Mental illness has long been a taboo subject personal strength or lack thereof. Depression is and those with a mental-health diagnosis have rooted in a variety of factors including biological or genetic predispositions. We don’t get to opt in or long been stigmatized for their struggles. In recent years, though, we’ve begun to shift our ideas about out of depression, and the notion that someone with the topic in a positive direction. As a society, we’re this diagnosis is simply weak can be a devastating one. Shame is a major component of depression talking more about common mental-health conand other mental-health diagnoses due to negative cerns such as anxiety and depression, and we’re beliefs such as this one. The more we are able to acknowledging just how prevalent they really are. understand that depression is an illness just in the We’re also talking about these topics with our way diabetes or asthma or any other friends and loved ones. We’re asking physical ailment is, the less inclined for recommendations for therapists, those suffering from depression will be we’re comparing medications (for better to keep their illness a secret and a point or for worse, a substantial number of of shame. It should also be noted that the Americans are on antidepressants) and strength it takes to get through every day we’re opening up about our pain. while dealing with depression is subOverall, this is a very good thing. stantial. Mental-health struggles can lead to pervasive feelings of isolation and 4. The myth: “You can ‘just pull alienation; connecting with others is yourself out of it.’” one antidote to that. The one flaw is that even a well-meaning and supOne of the most common and hurtful portive friend or family member may statements made to individuals suffernot always say the right thing, usually ing from depression is that they should because of misinformation or a general just pull themselves out of it. For many lack of knowledge about mental illness. Unfortunately, it does make sense — Kristina Furia people who have never experienced depression, it might seem logical to psychology isn’t a mandated part of think that you could get past a bout by high-school curricula and many college shifting the way you think and making the decision grads even get through all their schooling without to “get past it.” The reality is that if it were possible ever having taken a psychology course. to pull oneself out of the depths of depression, peoWhile an article can’t come close to offering the ple would. While there are benefits to things like value of a full course on the subject, here are some notes on common misperceptions about depression purposeful positive thinking, depression is far too complex to be eradicated by trying to talk yourself — the most-diagnosed mental illness worldwide: out of it. 1. The myth: “Depression is just being sad.” 5. The myth: “You need a reason to be Sadness is certainly a part of depression, but saddepressed.” ness is a temporary emotion and is generally a feeling that occurs in reaction to something. Sadness Depression can be triggered by an external event comes and goes. Depression, on the other hand, such as the death of a loved one or a breakup, but a is long-lasting and is considered chronic. To go period of depression can also occur seemingly for further, depression is not simply marked by sadno reason. Depression is not a thing that requires ness. Depression may also include feeling numb a reason or a justification. Someone who seems or empty, agitated and irritable. It may also be to have a wonderful life and who, on the surmarked by difficulty concentrating, a lack of motiface, has no reason to be unhappy or discontented vation and feelings of extreme tiredness all the time. may be quietly suffering from depression despite Suggesting to someone suffering from depression everything around them being “fine” or even that he/she is simply sad is incredibly invalidating to “good.” Saying to your depressed friend or loved that person’s experience. one something like, “Come on, you have no reason to be depressed. You’ve got a great life” may 2. The myth: “Changing your diet can cure seem reasonable but, for someone struggling with depression.” depression, this can induce feelings of immense shame. For those health-conscious folks, it’s a common belief that lifestyle decisions such as diet and exerWe’re doing a better job than we ever have of cise can cure depression. There is research that sug- addressing mental illness in this country, but there gests that a healthy diet is correlated with reduced is still a great deal of room for improvement. Like risk of depression; however, a healthy diet is corso many other things, a grassroots effort to change related with all kinds of positive benefits. To suggest the conversation around mental illness can and will that diet can cure or prevent depression is a severe make all the difference on a societal level. Let’s overstatement and is something to avoid saying to strive to keep the dialogue open, to support our someone suffering from the condition. Depression loved ones struggling with depression and other is so unpleasant an experience that if dietary habits mental illnesses, and to proactively work toward could fix it, just about every depressed person on growing in understanding of what it really means the planet would have adapted to a diet that would to be depressed. n solve the problem.

Thinking Queerly

3. The myth: “Depression is a sign of weakness.” In reality, depression is in no way linked to

Kristina Furia is a psychotherapist committed to working with LGBT individuals and couples. She owns Emerge Wellness, an LGBT health and wellness center in Center City (

Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018



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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


Checklist for retirement Q: I’m considering retirement in the next year or two. I think I’ve saved enough money, but I’m not sure how to think about my income and expenses in retirement. A: Now that you’re so close to your potential retirement, it’s a good time to really take inventory of your retirement-income needs and potential sources of retirement income. Here are some thoughts to get you started. Countdown to retirement: Take control of your assets After years of saving and investing, you can finally see the big day: retirement. But before kicking back and relaxing, you still need to address a few matters. Chief among them is assessing how much retirement income you may need. To do this, you’ll need to consider your major costs in retirement, such as housing and health care, the estimated length of your retirement, whether you will have earned income, your desired retirement lifestyle and the rate of inflation. Next, you’ll need to identify all potential retirement-income sources and review your asset allocation. It may sound like a lot of work, but decisions made now could make the difference between your money outlasting you or vice versa.

old woman, about 24 more years, according to research conducted by the Society of Actuaries.1 Have you accounted for a retirement of 20 or more years? • Earned income: According to the Pew Research Center more older Americans — those aged 65 and older — are working than at any time since the turn of the century, and today’s older workers are spending more time on the job than did their peers in previous years.2 If you continue to work, how much might you earn? • Your retirement lifestyle: Your lifestyle will help determine how much preretirement income you’ll need to support yourself. A typical guideline is approximately 60-80 percent, but if you want to take luxury cruises or start a business, you may well need 100 percent or more. • Healthcare costs and insurance: Many retirees underestimate healthcare costs. Most Jeremy Americans are not eligible Gussick for Medicare until age 65, but Medicare doesn’t cover everything. You can purchase Medigap supplemental health insurance to cover some of the extras, but even Medigap insurance does not pay for longterm care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental care or private-duty nursing. For more on Medicare and health insurance, visit Medicare’s consumer website. • Inflation: Although the inflation rate can be relatively tame, it can also surge. It’s a good idea to tack on an additional 3 percent each year to help compensate for inflation.

Out Money

Calculating your retirement needs When retirement was years away, determining how much income you would need to sustain you in your golden years may have involved a lot of estimates. Now, you can likely be more accurate in your calculations. Consider the following factors: • Your home base: Do you intend to remain in your current home? If so, when will your mortgage be paid in full? Will you sell your current home and downsize to one of lesser value, or do you intend to “trade up”? • The length of your retirement: The average 65-year-old man can now expect to live about 22 more years; the average 65-yearBETHANY from page 1

governing non-discrimination.” In a statement, a city spokesperson said of Bethany’s new policy: “The actions of BCS demonstrate a strong commitment to an inclusive approach to their foster-care services and we are confident that commitment will continue.” Justin F. Robinette, a local civil-rights attorney, said the policy isn’t specific enough to hold the agency accountable in the event Bethany turns away another same-sex couple. “The local Bethany subsidiary is saying something without saying anything at all,

Running the numbers The next step is to identify all of your potential income sources, including Social Security, pensions, employer-sponsored retirement accounts and other personal investments. Don’t overlook cash-value life-insurance policies, income from trusts, real estate and any equity in your home. Also review your asset allocation — how you divide your portfolio among stocks, bonds and cash.3 Are you tempted to convert all of your investments to low-risk securities? really,” said Robinette. “The policy statement that Bethany won’t violate the law is meaningless. And I think Bethany knows this. If an LGBT antibias complaint were to be filed against Bethany, the agency could cite multiple laws protecting religious freedom. Even the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance contains an exemption for religious organizations.” Robinette also expressed concern that Bethany’s parent company, Bethany Christian Services, “pledges on its website not to discriminate on the basis of sex. Yet that didn’t stop the local Bethany subsidiary from turning away a lesbian

Such a move could potentially place your assets at risk of losing purchasing power due to inflation. You may live in retirement for a long time, so try to keep your portfolio working for you — both now and in the future. A financial advisor can help you determine an appropriate asset allocation.

STAR Wealth Manager as mentioned in Philadelphia Magazine.** He is active with several LGBT organizations in the Philadelphia region, including DVLF (Delaware Valley Legacy Fund) and the Independence Business Alliance (IBA), the Philadelphia Region’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. OutMoney appears monthly. If you have a question for Jeremy, you can contact him via email at

A new phase of financial planning

Jeremy Gussick is a Registered Representative with, and securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.

Once you’ve assessed your needs and income sources, it’s time to look at cracking that nest egg you’ve built up. Your first step is to determine a prudent withdrawal rate. Next, you’ll need to decide when to tap into tax-deferred and taxable investments. Some say that it may be better to liquidate assets in taxable accounts first, allowing any earnings on assets in traditional IRAs and other qualified retirement vehicles to potentially compound under the tax-deferred umbrella. However, keep in mind that earnings and deductible contributions in tax-deferred accounts are generally subject to income tax upon withdrawal at then-current ordinary income-tax rates, and that withdrawals prior to age 59 and a half are generally subject to a 10 percent additional federal tax — on top of any regular income taxes owed. Also, remember that, with some exceptions, the IRS mandates individuals to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) — based on IRS life-expectancy tables — after you reach age 70 and a half. Failure to take the required distribution can result in a penalty equal to 50 percent of the required withdrawal amount. For more information on RMDs, see the IRS’ RMD resource page or call the IRS at 1-800-8291040. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the financial decisions you must make at retirement. The most important part of the process is to consult a qualified financial professional and/or a tax advisor to make sure that you’re prepared for this new — and exciting — stage of your life. n

1Society of Actuaries, press release, “Society of Actuaries Releases New Mortality Tables and an Updated Mortality Improvement Scale to Improve Accuracy of Private Pension Plan Estimates,” October 27, 2014. 2Pew Research Center, “More older Americans are working, and working more, than they used to,” June 20, 2016. 3Asset allocation does not assure a profit or protect against a loss. This article was prepared with the assistance of DST Systems Inc. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor. Please consult me if you have any questions. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by DST Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall DST Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscribers’ or others’ use of the content. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor, please note that LPL Financial LLC is not an affiliate of and makes no representation with respect to such entity.

Jeremy R. Gussick is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional affiliated with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer.* Jeremy specializes in the financial planning and retirement income needs of the LGBT community and was recently named a 2017 FIVE

*As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2017, based on total revenues. **Award based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients such as credentials, experience, and assets under management among other factors. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers.

couple, which is a form of sex discrimination.” Bethany’s antibias policy needs specific language indicating that the policy extends to sexual orientation and gender identity, Robinette said. “Employers, housing centers and public accommodations routinely display antibias policies specifying the categories that are protected. Why can’t Bethany?” Margaret A. Downey, president of the Freethought Society, also blasted Bethany’s new policy. “Wouldn’t it be more progressive, kind and helpful if Bethany simply stated that

they would no longer discriminate against nontheist applicants?” Downey asked in a July 9 email. She added that Bethany’s antibias policy should specify that the agency won’t discriminate against the nontheist community by including the category “religion,” and making clear that the category covers nontheists. In a related matter, PGN filed a Right-toKnow Law request with the city July 5 for the exact amount of city funds provided to Bethany for foster-care services during the fiscal year ending June 30. As of presstime, the request remained pending. n



Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018



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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


Creep of the Week

D’Anne Witkowski

Milo Yiannopoulos


Justice for Nizah is justice for all One of the many advocates who began pushing for answers in the immediate aftermath of the 2002 homicide of Nizah Morris was then-Police Inspector Anthony Boyle. “At this particular point, there are questions that I want answered,” Boyle told PGN reporter Tim Cwiek, who is still covering the case, in January 2003. “Maybe everything was done correctly, but maybe police could have looked harder.” Boyle went on to say that the circumstances of Morris’ death “are still under investigation.” Fifteen years after Morris was killed by a blow to the head, police and affiliated agencies still aren’t offering a definitive conclusion about what happened. Morris was intoxicated after leaving a party at the Key West Bar the night of Dec. 22, 2002. Police were called, and she was given a courtesy ride by officers to her home in the area of 50th and Walnut streets. Except that the ride lasted for only three blocks, with Morris getting out at 15th and Walnut streets, roughly 20 minutes before she was found bleeding out in the street from a head injury. The medical examiner’s report concluded that Morris died of blunt trauma to the head. Looking back on PGN’s coverage from those initial weeks after the Morris homicide, so few of the questions surrounding her death have been answered. Who struck her in the head? Were police present? Information has trickled out from the city and police authorities over the years, such as the Internal Affairs Division last week releasing a 46-page investigative file. The pages that would tell us what actually happened were not included in the IAD report, even though the IAD presumably had access to that report, including police-log entries specifically about Morris as well as an officer’s report on the incident. The bottom line: The courtesy ride was interrupted for unknown reasons, Morris got out of the police car intoxicated but not injured, and 20 minutes later was laying in the street with a blow to the head. If the police weren’t involved in her death, why cover it up in so many ways for so long? It is past time to release the records and tell the truth. The Philadelphia Police Department’s motto is: “Honor, integrity, service.” The suspicious death of Morris and the subsequent cover-up reflect none of those values. When the police fail to act with honor and integrity toward our most vulnerable citizens, we as a society deserve to know about it. n

Milo Yiannopoulos is not a good person. But then, who cares, right? It’s not like he gives a shit about being a good person. In fact, the fact that he is a terrible person — a deplorable, if you will — is his entire appeal. Without his awfulness, he’s just another gay conservative guy trying to fit into a party where everyone there hates him, but not so much that they won’t take his money. Instead, Yiannopoulos says terrible shit and people are like, “LOL. Oh, he’s so BAD!” as if he’s a mischievous child rather than a grown man who has spoken positively about pedophilia while still becoming the poster boy for the right wing’s hand-wringing over free speech. He’s called a “provocateur,” a fancy way of saying he’s someone who tries to start shit for a living. And just after you thought that maybe he’d crawled back under his rock for good, news came that Yiannopoulos called for gunning down journalists just days before someone actually did that at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Maryland. “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” Yiannopoulos wrote in a text to New York Observer reporter Davis Richardson. He’s apparently expressed similar views to other journalists. Not surprisingly, after the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette, many called Yiannopoulos out for these comments. Yiannopoulos responded with a lengthy statement, which reads in part: “You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists. The bodies are barely cold, and left-wing journalists are already exploiting these deaths to score political points against me. It’s disgusting. I regret nothing I said, though of course like any normal person, I am saddened to hear of needless death.” Note how “normal” people are always attesting to how normal they are because they have human feelings. And also, I don’t know, maybe his statement should have started with the “I-amsaddened-to-hear” part? But he regrets nothing. Not even his hope that this shooter “is another demented left-winger” and “transgender” to boot. Yiannopoulos has a long history of being proudly anti-trans. In the end, he writes, he was just kidding. He was just “trolling” the journalists: “I sent a troll about ‘vigilante death squads’ as

a private response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, ‘F--k off.’ They then published it.” He was amazed that they took his “joke” seriously. I’m not. For one thing, jokes are supposed to be funny and this wasn’t. For another, a public figure calling for the death of a journalist in today’s hostile climate is, in fact, newsworthy because it’s so alarming. I will tell you that I am not one of the left-wing journalists who are supposedly blaming the Capital Gazette shooting on Yiannopoulos. Because it isn’t his fault. After all, it’s unlikely that Yiannopoulos’ comments played any direct role in the shootings. Yiannopoulos is but one ingredient in a deplorable stew, the head cook being, of course, Donald Trump, who has called the press “the enemy of the people.” In order for Trump’s reign to continue, enough people have to distrust the press and believe only what their dear leader claims to be the truth. People who love Trump, like Yiannopoulos, don’t care about being “good people.” They care only about having power. They do not want the government to help people. They want the government to hurt people. Now, the press isn’t perfect. Boy, did they screw up the 2016 election coverage, for example, and now look where we are. But it’s a scary time to be a journalist. In fact, it’s a scary time to be anyone other than a privileged white male in America. We must get out there and support the many diverse Democrats running for offices at every level across the country. We need more people of color, more women and, yes, more transgender people who actually care about the “united” part of this country. In other words, the good people need to vote for good people. Because human decency still matters, damn it. n

For one thing, jokes are supposed to be funny and this wasn’t. For another, a public figure calling for the death of a journalist in today’s hostile climate is, in fact, newsworthy because it’s so alarming.

D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.


Gay immigrant helps found America Readers here know my passion for LGBT and discipline to Valley Forge and wrote a history and my almost-decade-long research book, which would become the U.S. code and writing on my favorite gay of military conduct until the War historical character — and I do of 1812. believe he was a character. He Here’s the point that should be is Baron Friedrich von Steuben. shouted: Without von Steuben, And there’s a longer version of a gay man, there would be no his name, but that will do. United States of America. I It took years, but the research thought about all that research many of us is finally being of almost a decade now as I acknowledged by most reputawatched this segment from “The ble historians, and the Steuben Rachel Maddow Show” on July Society of America itself, that 6, which has once again made von Steuben was a gay man. Vvn Steuben the go-to guy, this That’s very important — maybe time on the issue of immigration, the most important LGBT since, as you can guess, he was American-history fact there is. an immigrant — a gay immiLet me explain why. grant, without whom there would Mark Segal be no USA. n Von Steuben, a Prussian military genius, was brought to the Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s mostU.S. to assist General George Washington, award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You who, with his ragtag revolutionary can follow him on Facebook at Continental Army, was losing the revoluMarkSegalPGN or Twitter at tion. Von Steuben brought order, sanitation PhilaGayNews.

Mark My Words


Lynn Merrilees

Why inclusion matters at work I came out almost 30 years ago to my family and friends. Personally, I have lived my life authentically as a gay woman in a remarkable and loving relationship for 23 years. Professionally, not so much. For a good part of my career path, I left my true self at home. Then, 10 years ago during a one-on-one professional coaching session, my leader paused and said to me, “You know, Lynn, it’s OK to live your truth being out.” This was the first time in my professional career — in my almost-30 years of being out — that I felt proud to be me. I will never forget that day, the courage of my leader, and the responsibility we all own to invite allies in and to help others be. I have shared that story many times because it speaks volumes to the power that diversity and inclusion practices can have in the workplace. That one encounter had a lasting impact on me, but encounters like mine should be the rule, not the exception. I believe that being out at work makes me a better employee and colleague. For example, this past year we introduced OUT@Comcast, a new Employee Resource Group (ERG), to our Freedom Regional employees who serve customers in New Jersey, Greater Philadelphia and northern Delaware. As a co-leader of this ERG, personally contributing to a workplace environment that is aware, inclusive and productive for all brings so much added value to my day-to-day job. The ability to

help other out employees and allies grow personally and professionally, as well as creating opportunities to give back to the local LGBTQ community, has been a tremendous outlet for me and a benefit to the company. Last month, I marched with hundreds of Comcast employees in Philadelphia’s Pride Parade, joined by our friends and family. Walking together as a company, alongside our local community, sends a powerful message about Comcast’s culture to lean in when it comes to diversity and inclusion. But Comcast is not alone. It was inspiring to see so many other organizations represented at Philly’s Pride Parade too. When a company has strong diversity and inclusion practices, the customer benefits too. Where I work, customers benefit from programming that is also more diverse and inclusive. This includes an entire platform dedicated to LGBTQ film and television. This employee-inspired destination never would have been possible if employees didn’t feel encouraged and supported to be themselves. We as the LGBTQ community have come far, but still have a long way to go. I hope that we — as a local community and entire country — can take our moment, and momentum, and make the most of it. n Lynn Merrilees is a resident of Point Pleasant, N.J. She is director of customer service for Comcast and a co-lead of the Freedom Region OUT@Comcast Employee Resource Group.

Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

Street Talk Should ICE be abolished? "Yes, ICE has many historical problems. It can't be salvaged. There's no way it can regain people's Malcolm Burnley confidence. writer ICE strikes South Philadelphia fear in people and doesn't make our country safer. It needs to be replaced with something more humane."

‘Yes. ICE could be abolished and I wouldn’t miss it at all. I’m not that big on border security. Immigrants do good Ryan Dorey things for our medical student country. They South Philadelphia should be respected. I’m not so sure ICE recognizes that fact.”

"Yes. ICE is committing crimes against humanity. It's perpetrating governmentsanctioned child abuse. That's Benjamin Henry unacceptable, carpenter unethical, West Philadelphia immoral and totally against the principles our government was founded upon. I'm all for open borders."

"Yes, what they're doing is wrong. We should be valuing immigrants, not criminalizing them. ICE has to go. It has Jeff Pierce overstayed home-care aide its welcome. North Philadelphia People should be able to freely enter our country. The country should be ashamed of itself for having ICE."

Tell us what you think Send letters and opinion column submissions to:; PGN, 505 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, PA 19147; fax: 215-925-6437.

Please include a daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, style and space con­sid­er­ations.

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

PGN has immediate openings

Advertising Account Executive Our account executives are responsible for maintaining and prospecting direct client and agency accounts. Key responsibilities include: • Prospecting clients from all types of businesses, non-profits, etc.; Working with agencies and clients who conduct business in the Trial-State area; Presenting client solutions; Closing sales contracts and managing post sales execution and follow up; Working closely with internal departments in order to maximize revenue and budget goals; Personally attending promotions and events involving your clients; Developing new business; Strategically managing complex accounts and or agencies; Creating proposals; Meeting revenue and activity standards; Negotiating annual advertising contracts; Securing meetings and presenting to groups; Client entertaining as needed including traveling; Engaging a team of marketing and other support services.

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Burlesque festival welcomes all things weird By Adriana Fraser The Philadelphia Burlesque Festival will showcase more than 50 performers from around the world at its fourth annual celebration. Burlesque performers Liberty Rose and Dottie Riot created the festival with the help of assistant producer Hattie Harlowe in 2015. Rose has been part of Philadelphia’s burlesque scene for over a decade. She started performing in 2008 and cofounded and coproduced Broad St. Burlesque, where she created “Miss Rose’s Sexploitation Follies.” Riot became a burlesque dancer when she lost a job and decided to attend classes in New York City. She created “Dottie Riots Music Revue” in 2015, a burlesque show that celebrates different genres of music. After seeing a burlesque festival in Ohio in 2014, the founders said they wanted to bring more attention to the burlesque scene in Philadelphia. “We created the festival to elevate the burlesque scene in the city and to elevate Philadelphia itself. This festival was the next logical step in the city’s innovative performance development,” Rose said. The four-day festival brings together burlesque performers and lovers of the form for a weekend filled with performances, instructional classes and lectures on history and technique. The classes are open to anyone interested in the art form. Classes include “Strut, Pose and Peel: Using Panel Skirts,” “Go Slow” and “IntesiTEASE.” Participants will learn burlesque techniques from veteran performers. No experience is needed to take part in the classes. The celebration began with an opening reception 7 p.m. July 12 at Franky Bradley’s, reconvenes at Plays and Players Theater on July 13-14 and heads back to Frank Bradley’s for the closing festival July 15. Part of this year’s festival falls on Friday the 13th and thus will feature “creepy” and “spooky” burlesque performances. Victoria Page, coproducer of the last two festivals, said the Friday show will focus on all things “weird.” “We’re fans of weird and creepy, which is why we coordinated the festival to land on Friday the 13th,” Page said. “VIP ticket-holders will get a chance to see our Friday-night host, who’s a magician, perform a séance reaching out to the ghost of Josephine Baker.” The Saturday showcase invites guests to join the classes and lectures, followed by performances from headlining guests. The festival wraps up Sunday with an inviteonly improv burlesque show. Each day will feature different headliners, including performers Renée Rebelle, The Peek-A-Boo Revue, Red Rum, Calamity Chang, Raquel Reed and Mika Romantic. Fifty participants were selected to be part of this year’s festival as spotlight performers from a pool of more than 300 applicants.

Rose said that participation is growing each year, and organizers expect the same this year. “We have been growing each year and the numbers are trending upward,” she said. The festival makes burlesque accessible without being overwhelming, Rose said. It “showcases a number of performers and performance styles without overdoing it in one day. There are many different styles such as classic burlesque and neo-burlesque, and this gives guests a chance to show people how diverse and nuanced burlesque is.” So what exactly is burlesque?


“It’s a performance art that allows you to tell a wide variety of stories through body and sexual positivity, and anybody and everybody is welcome,” said Riot. Toni Elling, an entertainer who performed the burlesque circuit in the 1960s, is the festival’s featured guest and will lead a lecture on her contribution to the art form’s early history. Elling, who took her stage name from friend Duke Ellington, toured as far away as Japan, trying out stripping acts. She was one of the more notable AfricanAmerican burlesque performers in the early ’60s who was in the presence of entertainers such as Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr. She retired in 1974 and was inducted into the Burlesque Hall of Fame in 2016. The festival and burlesque classes are open to the public. Tickets start at $34 per day for general admission. Guests can purchase a weekend festival pass for $90 or a VIP pass for $125. Classes are $20 per guest. n For $5 off Philadelphia Burlesque Festival tickets, visit, search “Philadelphia Burlesque Festival” and enter the code PGN5.

PGN SCOTUS from page 1

worked as Kennedy’s clerk, and that may have a significant impact on how he handles cases he’s appointed. I think he could put a burden on abortion rights but I don’t believe that he will be responsible for reversing precedents such as Roe v. Wade,” Robinette said. Judge Dan Anders, who is openly gay jand serves in Philadelphia’s First Judicial District, declined to comment on the nominee, but said any SCOTUS appointee “should respect the law and respect precedent.” Anders serves as the president of the International Association of LGBT Judges, which seeks to increase the visibility of LGBT jurists. “When I ran 10 years ago as the first gay man to run for a public office, I felt that it was important that the public officials who are elected represent the full and rich diversities of the people that we represent,” he said. “President Obama was the first president to nominate openly gay attorneys to become openly gay judges. If we want to make people believe that the process is fair, decisions should be given out by a diverse group of judges.” Despite being a conservative and nominated to the Supreme Court by a Republican president in 1987, Kennedy emerged as a swing vote in cases involving abortion, affirmative action, voting rights and gay rights.

“President Obama was the first president to nominate openly gay attorneys to become openly gay judges. If we want to make people believe that the process is fair, decisions should be given out by a diverse group of judges.” In 1996’s Romer v. Evans (decided 6-3), Kennedy invoked the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to overturn a Colorado constitutional amendment that prohibited local jurisdictions from protecting LGBT people from discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2013’s United States v. Windsor (5-4), Kennedy’s vote effectively ended the federal ban on marriage between same-sex partners and in 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges (5-4), his was the deciding vote that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage. He is retiring at the end of the month. Prior to Trump’s SCOTUS pick, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told PGN that “many of our civil and human rights hang in the balance.” “The Supreme Court is the last line of defense for our civil and human rights and it serves as a crucial check on the other branches of government. Especially at a time when so many rights and freedoms are under threat, it is crucial that Justice Kennedy’s successor be a fair-minded and independent jurist,” she said. n

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018



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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


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Miss Gay Pennsylvania America 2018 on ending her reign By A.D. Amorosi PGN Contributor The two preliminary rounds for the 46th annual Miss Gay America Pageant are taking place in Pennsylvania on July 15 and 20. The Miss Gay America Pageant is the first and longest-running female-impersonator competition in the country. Careers are made, entrepreneurial enterprises are launched and lives are heightened and brightened with a victory, even within the local divisions such as Miss Gay Pennsylvania America and Miss Gay Northeast America, underway this month. “That all happened to me,” said Tatiana Clark — the current Miss Gay Pennsylvania America — from her home in Harrisburg. “Life is just drag, drag, drag, and that’s fantastic.” When she gives up her crown this weekend during a ceremony in her honor (at the Clarion Hotel in New Cumberland), Clark promised that she will do it with a smile and deep pride in herself and all that the diamond tiara has afforded her. On July 20, Miss Gay North East America, Dessie Love Blake, will give up her crown at the Doubletree Hotel in Reading. Clark came here from Puerto Rico with her family when she was nine years old and began a career in drag when she was but 17, with visits to Shimmer, a non-alcohol gay bar for teens. “There was an adult area, too, which I tried to sneak into many, many times because I thought I looked very adult, but the club was also very strict,” said Clark. “When I finally did get in, I was amazed. I always loved to sing, act and be onstage, so I was excited.” Upon meet-

ing Ingénue, a one-time Miss Gay Pennsylvania America, Clark was schooled, not only in how to truly live a drag life, but also on the pageant aesthetic: “How to get rid of a fiveo’clock shadow, what costumes are most flattering — she really took me under her wing,” said Clark. “She was a real and true mentor, one who gave me the opportunity to learn from her and shine for myself. When I won my first crown, Miss Shimmer at age nineteen in 1999, I was off and running.” Being crowned Miss Gay Harrisburg America and Miss Gay York America soon after proved that Clark’s pageant life (and it is a different, more proper, rules-driven lifestyle than conventional drag) was on an upward trajectory. An opportunity to go to nursing school in Puerto Rico, however, took precedence, and Clark put aside her métier for 15 years until three years ago, when her mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer. “No sooner than I came back to my mother’s, there was Ingénue telling me that I should get back in the game,” said Clark. After so much time away, Clark quietly back in to regional pageants to figure out the new lay of the land and to get her footing. When it came to Miss Gay Pennsylvania America 2018, Clark easily won every category, but fretted over the question of who her hero is. “Though I am of the community, I couldn’t choose someone from the community, as my true hero is my mother, fighting her cancer and refusing to give up,” said Clark. It was that forthright honesty that won her the biggest crown of her life to date. From there, Clark has walked the walk in the name of her regal honorarium. “Tatiana,’ as a character, is very much a pageant queen and stately. She’s pretty, and has gained such a fan base that we call them ‘The Queen’s Army.’” Then, there is Clark’s other character, “La Costosa,” Spanish for “The Costly One,” that Clark says is built for outrageousness and truth-telling. It is through the merging of these two characters Clark created the wildly successful Alex Alberto Cosmetics (her real name) makeup line with the tag phrase “just for queens.” ( “We sold out the first line so quickly, we have to keep waiting for the next truck to arrive,” she said. Her year as Miss Gay Pennsylvania America, Clark says, gave her the opportunity to thrive as a businesswoman that she may never have had otherwise. Her role is also about responsibility, she said. “When you represent the pageants, you are not wearing the crown for you — you are wearing it for your city, and for your community. That’s a lot to think about for the woman I hand off my crown to.” n

MISS GAY PENNSYLVANIA AMERICA Photo: Courtesy of Jeremy Schlieve



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By Jen Colletta The owner of a Pennsylvania bridal shop recently claimed that her faith precluded her from selling a dress to a same-sex couple. Shannon Kennedy and Julie Ann Samanas said the incident happened July 8 at W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, about twoand-a-half hours north of Philadelphia. The West Pittston couple visited the shop in search of a dress for Samanas for the couple’s March 2018 wedding. “We filled out the form that said ‘Bride’s name,’ ‘Budget’ and then where it said ‘Groom,’ we crossed it out and wrote ‘Bride’ and put Shannon’s name down,” Samanas explained. The couple, who were accompanied by Samanas’ sister, handed one of the two women who was working the form and, after reviewing it, she inquired if the dress was for a same-sex wedding. “She said, ‘I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re Christian and we don’t believe in that; our faith doesn’t let us believe in that,’” Kennedy recalled. The women said they didn’t challenge the staff member and exited. “I think we were kind of in shock,” Kennedy said. “We all looked at each other and went, ‘Oo-k’ and walked out. It was unexpected. Afterwards, you think of everything you should have said.” W.W. Bridal Boutique did not respond to a request for comment. The women posted about the incident on Facebook and tagged the store. In a July 11 post that has since been deleted, the store posted: ”The owners of W.W. Bridal Boutique reserve the rights afforded to them by the First Amendment of the Constitution to live out our lives according to our faith. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ We will continue to serve our customers based on the tenets of our faith.”

Kenney and Samanas said they believe the operators of the store’s Facebook page have blocked them both. They said they have received a wealth of support on social media. “I grew up about 20 minutes from there and I think about 90 percent of the people who commented were straight people I went to high school with, which is awesome,” Kennedy said. “We had about 300 shares of our post, and I think we only saw two negative things.” W.W. Bridal was embroiled in a similar situation in 2014, after the store owners, identified then as Victoria Miller and Jeremy Stabler, allegedly declined to schedule an appointment for a lesbian couple. Kennedy and Samanas said they recalled hearing about that incident but didn’t realize it was the same shop. Pennsylvania continues to lack a statewide LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination law; more than 40 municipalities have adopted their own nondiscrimination measures, though Bloomsburg is not among them. After the 2014 incident at W.W. Bridal, members of the Bloomsburg Town Council proposed asking the town solicitor to draft an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, but SHANNON KENNEDY after a community meeting (LEFT) AND JULIE ANN SAMANAS Photo: Tara that drew both Beth Photography support and opposition, voted 4-3 against moving forward with such a measure. The council did send a letter to the state legislature urging it to adopt statewide LGBT protections. Bloomsburg Mayor Sandy Davis did not respond to PGN’s request for comment. n


Jen Colletta for

“Lesbian Couple Turned Away From PA Bridal Shop”,

Philadelphia Gay News


Family Portrait

Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


Suzi Nash

Marianna Coppola: From Italy, with love If it seems like there are a lot of exclamation points this interview, it’s because this week’s Portrait is an impassioned and animated speaker. As a general manager of Positano Coast for 14 years, she has developed it into one of the city’s most-treasured restaurants. Now she’s ready to take on a whole new adventure combining her artistic skills with her management talents to form “Creations by Coppola.” PGN: Super sleuth that I am, I’m going to guess by your accent that you’re not originally from Philadelphia. MC: No, I’m from Italy. I was born in a small town called Monte de Procida, it’s near Napoli (or as we’d say, Naples). Now it’s a little better, but when left at 18 and it was very old-fashioned; men sitting outside in the piazza all day while the women were at home cooking. So that’s why I left. PGN: What prompted you to want to leave at 18 and did you come straight to the States? MC: When I finished school, everyone was complaining that there was no work to be had, so I didn’t want to waste my time looking. Everyone still lives with their parents there and I didn’t want that so I started traveling. I went to London for three years, Spain for a year. I’d just stop in one place and work, make some money and then go to the next place and get another job. That’s how I came here. PGN: I came straight here from a protest against this administration’s immigration policies. What are your thoughts? Was it hard for you to get in? MC: Not so hard for me, but I’m not from one of the countries they’re going after. The hardest part was the first four years before I was legal because I was not able to leave, not for holidays or anything. I was afraid if I left, I couldn’t get back in. So for four years I went without seeing my family and that was the most difficult thing. I was able to get Positano Coast to sponsor me, then I had to wait forever for all the paperwork to go through and then I was finally able to go home, and most importantly come back. I have a lot of friends from Mexico and South America and it’s terrible, they can’t leave. So sad what they have to go through. PGN: No worries for you? MC: No, I am a full American citizen now. No one can keep me out! PGN: How old were you when you first realized you were gay? MC: I pretty much realized it when I moved here. I mean, I kind of knew it because I’d have crushes on all of my friends from all the way back to elementary school, but I didn’t acknowledge it. I just wanted to be like everyone else. But when I lived in London, that’s when I started to think, ‘Oh my God, maybe I do like women. Then I moved here and I didn’t care anymore. I met somebody, at Sisters, actually. That’s where I remember

you from! It’s crazy! PGN: What did you do when you first got here? MC: I was cleaning tables at a little diner in Yardley. PGN: Yardley! How did you go from Italy to Yardley? MC: No, no. Italy to Jacksonville, Fla., to Trenton, to Yardley, to Philadelphia. I was asking people where I could find jobs and that’s where it led me — all the way to working for Aldo Lamberti and Positano Coast. I’ve been there for 14 years. PGN: And I understand you’ve now opened up your own business. MC: At Positano, I used to do all the decorating. I always paid attention to detail, especially with things like the flower arrangements. It’s about presentation, creating an atmosphere. [Laughing] Even when I cook for myself at home, I make sure my plate looks perfect. After a while, I thought, maybe I should do this for a living. So I went to NY and got a degree from the Flower School of New York, worked for a couple of florists, and loved it. Last week, I opened a flower shop called “Flora/Fauna” on Passyunk Avenue.

PGN: What was the biggest culture shock coming to the States? MC: How particular Americans are about everything. Americans care about the things around them, the, um … PGN: The things that affect them. MC: Yes, not everybody, but a lot of Americans are very particular, but it shows how much they care too. I come from Napoli and it’s totally different. It’s a beautiful country, they enjoy life being very laid back. But everything’s always a fucking mess. You have to wait for everything, you want something done by the city — forget about it, you wait years. Everything takes forever. Very different than Americans, for sure. This is why I love America. PGN: I remember the first time I went to Greece, we got off the plane and there was no one there. All the customs people had decided to walk off the job, so we just walked through ourselves. I was miffed because I didn’t get a stamp.

PGN: Congratulations! You studied in New York and managed the restaurant at the same time? MC: A lot of commuting. And a lot of work — I’m still at the restaurant three days a week.

PGN: Have you done other jobs? MC: No, it was always the restaurant business. When I was a kid, we lived over my uncle’s restaurant and when I was eight, I used to go down and work in the kitchen without my parents knowing. I loved it, the whole vibe in there. And now I create vibes for people.

PGN: Has the family been to visit? MC: Just one time. My sister has her job and the kids and my parents are getting old, so they prefer to travel at home. In Europe, you travel an hour and you’re in a different country. I go back twice a year.

PGN: What do you like to do in the rare instance you’re not working? MC: I love my motorcycle, but I haven’t gotten it out yet and I love my hot yoga, love it. It’s an hour and a half, very intense and when I’m in that room I don’t think of anything else. Just the hard work and sweat. PGN: You could walk outside today and it feels like hot yoga for the planet. A time you laughed so hard your stomach hurt? MC: This was bad, I was at Positano at the front desk and there was a guy there from India trying to tell me something, but his accent was so thick I couldn’t understand what he was saying. The way he was talking, really animated, made me start laughing and I couldn’t stop. I had to duck down behind the counter. The other manager at the front desk was from Argentina, so there were three of us: An Argentinian, an Indian guy and an Italian all speaking English and we couldn’t understand a word. It was hilarious. PGN: Tell me more about your new venture. MC: It’s called Flora/Fauna, I’m the flora and the guys are the fauna. They’re experts in exotic pets and plants and orchids. With ‘Creations by Coppola,’ I concentrate on weddings and special events, but I also do bouquets in the store — everything from $15 pick-me-up bouquets to fancier arrangements. It’s all gayowned and operated.

PGN: What was your most memorable moment at Positano? MC: Our 10th anniversary. We had all sorts of local celebrities and politicians come out. It was nice to sit back and reflect on how far we’ve come.

PGN: You’ve been in Philly for 14 years. What do you like about it? MC: I like that it feels like Europe in a way. I like that you can walk everywhere. It’s a great city; it just feels like home. Even though my family is not here, something about Philadelphia just always felt right. I lived in Florence too, which is the sister city to Philadelphia, so it was just meant to be.

MC: Nothing! [Laughing] Wait, some almond milk but that’s it. I run a restaurant but I don’t have time to cook. And if I do cook, I buy what I need, cook it and that’s it. I don’t keep anything.

MC: Oh yes, it’s exactly the same in Italy. Can you imaging me living there? Oh no, it’s not going to happen. I have too much energy. I’d always be going, “I need this done now!” Sometimes I like the culture, that “It’s okay, don’t worry about it, think about it tomorrow” attitude. But when you’re in business, it’s different. Here, you can get things done — no bullshitting or waiting around. PGN: Some random questions: What would we find in your refrigerator?

PGN: Speaking of positive energy, I love your space at Flora/Fauna. It’s very zen. Except for some of the really exotic creatures, I’d love it as an apartment. MC: Yes, this is a great area, too. For someone planning a wedding or event, there are vendors all around us who proPhoto: Suzi Nash vide everything from shoes to cakes. You can get it all done right in one spot! n Creations by Coppola at Flora/Fauna 1724 East Passyunk Avenue Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148 215.239.9739 To suggest a community member for Family Portrait, email


Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


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Main & Vine hits the right spot for Main Line crowd By Larry Nichols The recently opened Main & Vine (789 Lancaster Ave.) probably couldn’t have found a better location, as the close proximity to Villanova and the steady stream of educated professional energy that seems to flow through it seems appears ideal for the Northern California-inspired, farm-to-table bistro fare. The vibe is somewhat upscale, but casual and laid-back at the same time, giving a large space a grown-up feel. Candlelight provides a warm glow while comfortably padded seating is available at every table. The seafood dishes are especially intriguing. The tuna tataki ($16) was elegantly presented, resting in a luxuriously potent dashi that complemented the flavor and texture of the dish. The cool silkiness was counter-balanced by the crisp spiciness of the chicken-fried oysters ($12), which were juicy and plump. You’ll definitely want more. Also, if you are so inclined, your server will bring you a piping hot loaf of their house hearth-baked sourdough bread ($6) to tempt you into gloriously going off the carb rails. Do it. Ask for the butter instead of the olive oil. Live a little. Main & Vine also has a nice selection of highly-recommended Napa-style pizzas and while we were tempted to try one, being the suckers for surf

If you go

TUNA TATAKI and turf that we are, the arc of the meal veers more towards red meat. The adobo-rubbed flatiron steak ($30) had smoky and complex flavors with crispy chile relleno croquettes, chipotle steak sauce drizzled on top and a delightfully smooth whipped avocado underneath. Rounding things out was an insanely good side dish, potato puree with butter-poached king crab ($12), which was airier, lighter and tastier than anyone’s best attempt at mashed potatoes you’re likely to encounter. Main & Vine also offers a different family-table menu selection each night of the week ranging from Prime Rib ($35) and Sunday Gravy ($20) on the weekends to organic friend chicken ($24) and whole bronzino tacos ($28) during the week. Since it’s the height of summertime, we had to finish off things with the sorbet selection, which was a refreshing flight of mango, meyer lemon and strawberry champagne scoops. With an easy-going atmosphere and excellent menu, make an excuse to take a culinary trek outside the city and take a seat at Main & Vine. n


Main & Vine 789 Lancaster Ave. 484-380-3688

Sun.-Thur.: 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.: 5-11 p.m.


Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018



Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


A ‘Boy’lesque experience moves to Old City By A.D. Amorosi PGN Contributor For the last six-and-a-half months, the La Fusion Lounge in the back of Dung Phat Plaza at 11th and Washington has played host to the era-appropriate ’80s look and feel of “NEON: A Boylesque Experience.” The Miami-vibe location was an exceptional live venue for NEON’s colorfully playful nights of male-identifying burlesque — always a mix of trans, gay, and drag performers — put together by Adam I. (the producer/director of Envoute: Magic and Burlesque as well as NEON) and Josh Schonewolf, of “Mr. Everything,” “Bearlesque,” and “Daddy & Friends” party-promotion fame. On July 15, however, the every-ThirdSunday “NEON” moves to its new location at Old City’s Brit-inspired Victoria Freehouse. “Our first night at La Fusion was when the Eagles won the NFC championship,” recalled Adam I. with a laugh. “Everyone had to run home early after that win.” Schonewolf and Adam I. held some vibrant parties at La Fusion, but are now leaving the Italian Market area for greener pastures. Adam I. — famous for his Envoute presents “The Blind Tiger” Speakeasy Sundays and other historical and cinematic themed burlesque events at L’Etage — called Victoria Freehouse “a godsend to the performance community.” What made the “NEON” duo move toward male-identifying burlesque with a gay and trans perspective comes down to comfort levels. For host Schonewolf, it is “part of my thing,” he said. “I dig doing events with female burlesquers such as “Sister Bear,” but I love working with the boys, and love building new ways and new venues for male-identifying burlesquers.” Adam I. calls the “NEON” in-yourface style a combination of his and Schonewolf’s most-entertaining work, refined and condensed in one highly accessible show. “Some people want to kick back and be entertained. It will always be

interactive and inclusive, meaning that if you’re in the front row, you’re fair game to the performer. We do them in the round or in three-quarter round so that everyone feels a part of the show.” At a time when so much drag and burlesque have a sharply savage political edge as inspired by the current administration, the two performers said that theirs is not an overt brand of protest. “There have definitely been significant changes socially and politically — the scene is highly political and filled with perofrmers with very real qualms about our government — and we have and want performers who make their own statements, but overall I try and stay away from charged shows,” said Adam I., adding how his L’Etage Envoute events focus more on filmic themes and different eras, from Westerns to James Bond to the AMC television show “Mad Men.” Schonewolf, too, acknowledges that “NEON” focuses more on entertainment than going into the darkly socio-political. “Some people just want a night off,” he said with a laugh. “But if our artists want to portray something political, we say go for it. We’re at a weird time for queer artists in America. So many wish to get their aggressions out on a stage, or tell a story they need and want to share. What makes a show more exciting at “NEON” is when we follow that up with the glamor boys, the weirdos, the raunchy guys, the magicians. It’s nice to have that mix — you never know who you’re going to connect with at “NEON.” n

RAGING AGAINST THE TRUMP MACHINE: Otep, the heavy-metal band fronted by out singer and poet Otep Shamaya, hits the road in support of their blistering, politically charged new album, “Kult 45,” which tackles subjects such as the immigrant crisis, rape culture and the U.S. government. Catch them when they perform 8 p.m. July 20 at Reverb Nightclub, 1402 N. Ninth St., Reading. For more information or tickets call 610-743-3069.

Theater & Arts

Parkway; 215-7638100.

Agnes Martin: The Untroubled Mind/ Works from the Daniel W. Dietrich II Collection Philadelphia Museum of Art presents paintings and drawings exploring the ideas that shaped Martin’s minimalist art, through Oct. 14, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-7638100.

Experiments in Motion: Photographs from the Collection Philadelphia Museum of Art presents a photographic exhibition where artists stop, extend and rearrange time for their own creative ends, through Aug. 19, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215763-8100.

Biting Wit and Brazen Folly: British Satirical Prints, 1780s–1830s Philadelphia Museum of Art on the appeal of caricature in Georgian England and the ways in which those images teased and provoked audiences, through Aug. 22, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100.

Face to Face: Portraits of Artists Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition exploring how photographers helped craft the public personas of their creative subjects in this stunning collection of rare photographs from the museum’s collection, through Oct. 14, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-7638100.

Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibition of pop art and psychedelia from the civil-rights and anti-war movements through Sept. 9, 26th Street and the

Jean Shin: Collections Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition by contemporary artist Shin (American, born in South Korea in 1971) in which

she transforms everyday objects into dynamic works about connection and belonging, through July 15, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Kevin Hart The international superstar comedian and actor performs 8 p.m. July 13-14 at BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Blvd.; 856365-1300. Rachel Rose: Wil-o-Wisp/The Future Fields Commission Philadelphia Museum of Art presents contemporary video installations that ruminate on our image-saturated culture and histories of the past, through Aug. 19, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Weeding Out The

Stoned Some comedians get high and take the stage while the audience tries to figure out which one of them could pass a random drug test at work, 8:30 p.m. July 13 at Good Good Comedy Theatre, 215 N. 11th St.; 215-399-

Music 1279. Vans Warped Tour The punk-rock and metal bands and skateboarders make one last go around for this traveling festival 11 a.m. July 13 at BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Blvd.; 856-365-1300. Ms. Lauryn Hill The R&B singer celebrates the 20th anniversary of her blockbuster debut album, 6:30 p.m. July

Notices Send notices at least one week in advance to: Out & About Listings, PGN, 505 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, PA 19147 fax: 215-925-6437; or e-mail: Notices cannot be taken over the phone.


Britney Spears The pop star performs July 19-21 at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Event Center, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000.

SOUL SEARCHING CIRCUS: Out dance, aerialist and Toronto native Joey Arrigo plays the main character, Waz, in “Volta,” the new touring production from Cirque du Soleil. “We pushed the boundaries of where we’re going to take our storyline,” Arrigo said of the show. “VOLTA tries to take a story line that is in the present day and relatable to anybody watching. What we really wanted to stress was a message of self-acceptance and self-love.” Catch “Volta” through Aug. 5 at Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks. For more information visit www.cirquedusoleil. com/volta. Photo: Patrice Lamoureux

13 at Festival Pier, 601 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.; 215-922-1011. Taylor Swift The country-music superstar performs 7 p.m. July 13-14 at Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way; 267-570-4000. Sharon Katz & The Peace Train: Side-By-Side CD Release Party The out singersongwriter and activist performs with her band, 8 p.m. July 13 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400. Antigone Rising The all-female rock band with out members performs 8 p.m. July 14 at Word Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-2221400. Peter Frampton and The Steve Miller Band

The classic rock groups perform, 8 p.m. July 15 at Xcite Center, 2999 Street Road, Bensalem; 888-588-7279. Lindsey Sterling + Evanscence The orchestral rock groups perform 7 p.m. July 17 at BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, NJ; 609365-1300. Chris Brown The R&B singer performs 7 p.m. July 18 at BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Blvd.; 856-365-1300. Erasure The synthpop band performs 8 p.m. July 18 at Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.; 215-8931999. Zach Brown Band The country band performs 8 p.m. July 19-20 at BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Blvd.; 856-365-1300.

Beck The alt-rock singersongwriter performs 8 p.m. July 20 at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, 601 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.; 215-922-1011. Yes The classic prog-rock band celebrates 50 years of its history with performance 8 p.m. July 20 at The Fillmore Philadelphia, 29 E. Allen St.; 215-6253681.

Nightlife Mimi Imfurst Presents Drag Diva Brunch Mimi Imfurst, Bev, Vinchelle, Sutton Fearce and special guests perform 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 14 at Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St.; 215606-6555. Drag Brunch Divas and mimosas light up your morning 11:30 a.m. July 15 at L’Etage, Sixth and Bainbridge streets; 215-5920656. Philadelphia Burlesque Festival The burlesque extravaganza, 8 p.m. July 15 at Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St.; 215735-0735. Farrah Thorne’s Get Hype! The drag performer turns up 9 p.m. July 18 at Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St.; 215735-0735.

Bearleasque The bear-burlesque show comes out of hibernation 9 p.m. July 20 at Tabu, 200 S. 12th St.; 215-9649675.

Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


“Naked Under Leather” program features diverting, subversive gay shorts

Outta Town Matt Alber The singersongwriter performs 8 p.m. July 13 at The Rrazz Room at the Clarion Inn & Suites New Hope, 6426 Lower York Rd.; 888596-1027. Blobfest The classic horror film “The Blob” is celebrated all weekend with screenings July 1315 at the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610-917-1228. Brandon & James The string duo seen on “America’s Got Talent” performs classical covers of pop songs 8 p.m. July 14 at The Rrazz Room at the Clarion Inn & Suites New Hope, 6426 Lower York Rd.; 888-5961027. Kathleen Madigan: Boxed Wine & Bigfoot Tour The comedian performs 9 p.m. July 14 at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000. The Bad News Bears The classic comedy film is screened 9:45 July 20 at the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610917-1228. n


By Gary M. Kramer PGN Contributor The Lightbox Film Center will screen a quartet of queer short films July 25 as part of its “Naked Under Leather” series. The program opens with Kenneth Anger’s landmark 1963 film, “Scorpio Rising.” The title refers to the ascending zodiac sign; Scorpio represents both sex organs and machinery. This wordless film — set, deliberately and ironically, to popular music of the day — consists of a series of vignettes featuring members of a Brooklyn motorcycle club intercut with images of death. A greaser polishes chrome and assembles his motorcycle in an almost sexualized way. Other images fetishize a biker who models a leather jacket over his bare (and impressive) physique. Anger deconstructs codes of masculinity and delinquent youth by focusing on men such as Scorpio (Bruce Byron), who has pictures of James Dean on his bedroom wall and Marlon Brando, as a biker in “The Wild One,” playing on his television. But “Scorpio Rising” also features images of skeletons — Scorpio puts on a pair of skull rings – as well as other death figures to emphasize the dangers of motorcycles. In the later scenes, the film intercuts a party, in which the bikes expose themselves and one another in homoerotic horseplay, with images from the religious film “The Last Journey to Jerusalem” featuring Jesus and his disciples. Meanwhile, Nazi flags, images of Hitler, and other symbols of power are shown. Viewers can make many connections Anger is not so subtly hinting at in his interesting juxtapositions. “Scorpio Rising” ends with a dramatic sequence of a dirt-bike race — set to a particularly appropriate song of the era — to capture its live-fast-die-young motif. The short is followed by “Black Jackets and Choppers,” John Carney’s 1979 documentary about Gary Partlow, a member of the Santa Cruz biker culture, rebuilding

his HD Sportster. (The film was not available for preview). The program continues with “Pedagogue,” from 1988, in which Neil Bartlett, a finearts teacher at Newcastle Upon Tyne Polytechnic, is seen being interviewed on camera. While he talks about his work involving images of sexuality as represented in popular culture and fine art, most of the interview questions focus more on his personal taste than his professional work. He discusses his favorite female singer, film, and male film star. He twice denies being homosexual; the video is a response to Clause 28, which outlawed intentionally promoting homosexuality in Britain by the education system and government institutions. But “Pedagogue” really gets interesting when Bartlett opens his briefcase (upon request) and unpacks his jockstrap and “jewelry” — a cock ring and nipple clamps — as well as a copy of “Exercise” magazine, subverting queer associations of these obvious gay objects so as not to actively promote homosexuality. The film also deliberately frames Bartlett donning a leather jacket — open to reveal his naked, hairless chest — and tight blue jeans, with has one of the buttons of his fly showing. “Pedagogue” concludes with some revealing testimonies from Bartlett’s students about his influence as well as their own sexual identities. The result is a pointedly political but also highly amusing film about sexual stereotypes and representations. Rounding out the program is G.B. Jones’s “The Troublemakers” from 1990, which features Caroline Azar, out gay filmmaker Bruce La Bruce (“The Misandrists”), and Joe the Ho as a trio “delving into deviant sex urges and perverted pleasures.” Alas, the film was not available for preview, so curious viewers will have to see what trouble these characters get into by attending the “Naked Under Leather” screening. n



Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

Off the shelf

Scott A. Drake

Remembering and revisiting Gray Gardens The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens: A Memoir of the Beales, the Maysles Brothers, and Jacqueline Kennedy By Jerry Torre Memoir Storyteller and marble faun Jerry Torre has crafted a fine recollection of the early days of Grey Gardens — how he first met the two reclusive women who lived in squalor, how the filming of the movie with the Maysles brothers changed their lives and some of the glittering gaiety in between. It’s a tale of love, commitment, evolution and reconciliation that will bring the reader closer to the two women who are the center of attention. It’s also a retrospective of Jerry’s life after living in that aging mansion, and how over the decades he lived through the AIDS crisis and eventually how returned to the story with David Maysles years later. The classic 1975 documentary movie “Grey Gardens” is a story about Mrs. Beale (Big Edie) and her daughter Little Edie, respectively the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, and how they lead their eccentric lives in their mansion in East Hampton, N.Y. was nearly an instant cult classic and made the two Edies pop-culture legends. The movie was considered by some a monument, to others an intrusion and to most a curious, flamboyant exploration into alternative lifestyles. It was heartbreaking to learn how the household was sometimes exuberant, occasionally distressing and frequently bizarre during the early days, yet after the filming of “Grey Gardens,” they were mostly lost and moribund. It’s almost unfathomable that Edie might have been better off with some medication. Her mood swings and tirades bring that thought to the reader more than once. And to read of what the house was like, how they lived in filth and disease for all those years before Torre arrived is almost palpable and definitely nauseating. If there is anything missing from the book, it’s the back story of how the two women got themselves into such a state, but even back in the 1970s, there was little to be said. A brief mention of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in a couple of spots was enough to tie her into the women’s lives, but don’t expect more

than a few sentences in the novel; she just wasn’t a meaningful part of their story. “The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens” is a fascinating, revealing look at what is considered the insider’s point of view, though Torre was frequently left out of the house. And it is also somewhat chilling learning that there are people who have nothing to live on, and just each other to live for. Trending on “Who is Vera Kelly?” by Rosalie Knecht (L) “Calypso” by David Sedaris (G) “History of Violence” by Édouard Louis (G) “The Pervert” by Michelle Perez and Remy Boydell (T) “Go the Way Your Blood Beats: On Truth, Bisexuality and Desire” by Michael Amherst (B) *(B) Bisexual (F) Feminist (G) Gay (L) Lesbian (T) Trans Coming July 24, a new release we’re all excited about: “I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé” by Michael Arceneaux Staff Member Pick: Alison Cooper reviews Barbara Browning’s “The Gift”: I am recommending Barbara Browning’s LAMBDA Award-winning novel “The Gift.” It’s a moving meditation on a landscape of topics ranging from the gift economy, feminism, communism, art and love. “The Gift” begins as a response to a spam email and develops into a conceptual art project exploring what the narrator calls inappropriate intimacies. Barbara Andersen, a fictional character loosely based on herself, sends ukulele covers to acquaintances, friends, lovers and even strangers. I love this book and Browning’s writing is an inspiration. n Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room presents the 1975 cult classic “Grey Gardens” on the big screen 7-10:30 p.m. July 19 with cast member and “Marble Faun” author Jerry Torre. General-admission guests will see the film and receive a copy of “The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens.” For tickets or more information, go to

Q Puzzle Olly Olly Oxen Free Across

1 Stage show with “Sodomy” 5 Large split 10 E.M. Forster’s fellow 14 Vineyard measure 15 Greeting for Dolly 16 Unthinking repetition 17 Start of a quote by Olly Alexander 20 Caesar’s X 21 Tomlin’s role in a Netflix comedy series 22 Mom’s specialty, briefly 23 Pigeonhole 25 Hoffman title role 27 End of the quote 31 Utter nonsense 34 Yes, to Yves 35 Gets wind of 39 Larry Kramer and classmates 40 Head of costume designing 42 Exam taken in H.S. 43 Exhausted 45 “I Ain’t Got Nobody” singer Smith 47 L. Cruz and C. Torres, on _Grey’s Anatomy_ 48 Child of the Divine Miss M?

52 Venom source 53 “Hello” singer 55 Poet Dorothy ___ Ratcliffe 56 Appendage 58 Olly Alexander’s band 61 _The Right Stuff_ org. 63 Bey and Cher 64 Triangle ratio 67 2001 biopic about Murdoch 68 Langston Hughes’ “The Weary ___” 69 Mireille of _ World War Z_ 70 Shout at an open call 71 Begin in earnest 72 Say whether you’re coming


1 “___ la vista, baby” 2 Remembers ome S&M 3 Jeremy, who did the voice of Scar 4 Prepare to drag 5 ___ new course (seek new direction) 6 Greek queen of heaven 7 Ball of film 8 Lube brand 9 Seles of tennis 10 Early man’s opening 11 Bookstore category 12 Not straight 13 Vice homophobe

18 Zimbalist of “The F.B.I.” 19 Expat Sylvia 24 Handy 26 Looks like a voyeur? 28 Poet McKuen 29 ___ generis 30 Seizure for Caesar 31 Drag queen ___ Lettuce 32 “What now?!” 33 Totally gay guy 36 Sondheim musical 37 Pay hike 38 Many go down on them 40 WSW opposite 41 Home of _Game of Thrones_ 44 Head output 46 Barry Humphries’ Dame

49 Type of Mary 50 1997 Kevin Kline movie 51 Online video source 54 Rock-bottom 57 Brian of figure skating 59 Potential partners for Adam and Steve? 60 Petrol station choice 61 AnaÔs the diarist 62 “Diamonds ___ a Girl’s Best Friend” 65 Mo. to elect progay pols 66 Sixth sense


Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018



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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018

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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


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Philadelphia Gay News July 13-19, 2018


PGN July 13 - 20, 2018  

“The Philadelphia Gay News is the nation’s most award-winning LGBT publication, and the largest LGBT media outlet in the region.”

PGN July 13 - 20, 2018  

“The Philadelphia Gay News is the nation’s most award-winning LGBT publication, and the largest LGBT media outlet in the region.”