Portraits

Yassss! Another film festival is happening here in town, right this minute. This weekend the 27th Philadelphia Film Festival is drawing to a close, but there are still a number of amazing films to see before the curtain falls. Oct. 26 is the premiere of “Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know me,” a thoughtful and thorough tribute to Philadelphia’s own Teddy Pendergrass. I became involved with the film when the director, Olivia Lichtenstein, contacted me about a former Portrait, Tenika Watson. As a result, the lovely Ms. Watson is among those interviewed for the film.

“We demand that the time is now for our city and world to be more inspired, to intentionally listen to the voices of the folks who have been traditionally kept out from mainstream spaces. We must continue to cultivate a culture of access, advocacy, and appreciation for the arts. Art is a tool for empathy and collaboration. We believe that if we create more affirmative and identifiable experiences in theatrical spaces ,more people will engage in the process of their own liberation.”

So states the mission of the Power Street Theatre Company, a theatrical organization founded by this week’s Portrait, Gabriela Sanchez.

Raise your hand if you’ve been to William Way LGBT Community Center. All those with hands down, please pass your gay cards to the front.

But seriously, if you haven’t been to the center, you’re missing out on a lot. Founded in 1974 as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Philadelphia, William Way has morphed and moved and grown throughout the years. (Some of you older radicals may remember when it was known as Penguin Place.) It has been at 1315 Spruce St. since 1997 and offers something for everyone in the community.

These days, we could all use a good belly laugh. Add a little music to it — even better. Throw in a few pumpkins and you have “The Halloween Comedy Show Gates” with impresario Joe Gates.

I love Eastern State Penitentiary, not just at Halloween but all year. The staff does a lot of work educating people about prison reform and the history of incarceration in the United States and around the world. They work with artists and activists and contribute a lot to the community. Through this column, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many cool people who work there, usually around this time of year when ESP flips to Terror Behind the Walls. One of the top-rated haunted attractions in the country, it’s set in the massive, castle-like former prison where outlaws like Al Capone were incarcerated.

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