Portraits

Anna Crusis is not the name of the person being featured this week, but rather the name of a women’s choir that has been singing and performing continuously for 40 years. Its mission statement reads: “We are committed to musical excellence and social change. We sing to celebrate the diversity of women’s lives and culture; to find communion; to nurture and sustain; to comfort and to heal; to open hearts and minds; and to struggle together for a just and compassionate world.”

The circus is in town! As some of you know, I used to work with a bunch of clowns; literally, I was the co-host of “Bozo the Clown” for three years on TV57 here in Philly, so I know my way around a big top. Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing the amazing show put on by the UniverSoul Circus. I have to say, I haven’t smiled as wide, laughed as much or been entertained like that in a long time. The show is nonstop, energetic, family-friendly and fun. UniverSoul has a roster of talented performers from all over the world woven into a seamless show that doesn’t let up for hours. I haven’t seen this much bang for the buck in a while. Step right up and get your tickets now, folks!

One of the premises of this column is that everyone has a story to tell. Recently I was chatting with the bartender at Toasted Walnut and was surprised to find that she is actually a Grammy-credited music engineer, who’s working at the bar as she works on growing her own record label.

When Stephan Hengst and Patrick Decker lived in the small town of PoughKeepsie, N.Y., they looked around and noticed that, though there were a number of LGBT folks around, they didn’t really have a place to congregate. That led them to found Big Gay Hudson Valley, which provided community, entertainment, engagement and fun for the region. Luckily for us, they’ve recently relocated and are now bringing those community-building skills to Philadelphia.

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