Portraits

Do you have someone on your gift list who already seems to have everything? Chances are, you could find something they don’t have — or never even heard of — at ILLExotics, a new specialty store in South Philadelphia.

How about a beautiful Oophaga pumilio? Or a dramatic-looking Hemitheconyx caudicinctus? The otherworldly axolotyl? Or choose a Monstera deliciosa, which sounds like something from a Harry Potter movie but is actually a lovely piece of fauna. The rest are, respectively, an exotic dart frog, an African fat-tail gecko and a salamander known as the Mexican walking fish.

Chris Urban, half of the ILLExotics duo, is a man of many trades. In addition to opening the business with partner Franco Franchina, Urban moonlights as a bartender, DJ, choreographer, dancer and teacher.

When Judy Bridges transitioned at her job in a manufacturing plant, the response was eye-opening in that no one batted an eye. Since then, Judy has joined the board of Live Open — an LGBT employee-resource group at Saint-Gobain, a company that “encourages employees and supporters of the LGBTQ community to be fully open and honest about who they are as individuals.”

“I’m from Driftwood” is a curated collection of stories of LGBT people founded in 2009 when Nathan Manske saw a photograph of Harvey Milk riding on the hood of a car and holding a sign that read, “I’m From Woodmere, N.Y.”

Yippee ki-yay! This week’s Portrait is the founder of the Keystone State Gay Rodeo Association, Adam Romanik. Feeling spontaneous? Grab your Stetson and join them for their monthly trail ride or check the website for other upcoming events.

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.

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