Polish those boots because it’s almost time for the Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather contest. The annual competition will take place 8-10 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Bike Stop, 206 S. Quince St.

“Pup” Ruckus has judged, staffed and volunteered at many leather and fetish events across North America. Self-described as a smart husky with a true passion for obedience school, he is the past title-holder for Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather.

Hello, thespians and drama kweens! Itching to get your bard on, but don’t have the bucks? You’re in luck.

   From Feb. 7-17, Theatre Philadelphia presents Philly Theatre Week. It’s actually a 10-day celebration of the arts, showcasing more than 100 unique theater events including productions, readings and interactive programs. It’s a great way to check out the growing, vibrant and diverse theater scene in the area. The shows include world and regional premieres, Black History Month and Valentine’s Day-themed events, programs with food and drink, physical theater and dance, regional theater and the classics as well as academic and community performances. Many events are free. Some cost $15 or $30.

Well, the holidays are over and it’s now time for the post New Year slump. The time when the skies are often overcast and gray and the days stretch on as we look out the window, trying to catch a glimpse of sun or perhaps a brilliant snowfall.

If the Freshman 15 is a real thing, then so is the Christmas 12, the number of pounds I seem to gain over the 12 days of Christmas.

For me, it’s not close enough to spring for me to start panicking, but for many people the best way to keep the weight down and spirits up is to exercise.

The 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show is rapidly approaching, and as I did my research for this week’s column, I noticed the words “exciting,” “vibrant,” “colorful” and “fun” - all of which would be apt for this year’s theme, “Flower Power.” But in this case, the words weren’t describing the flowers on display, but rather the personality of this week’s Portrait, Michael Bowell. A gardener by vocation and avocation, Bowell has become a staple in the horticultural community — known for his infectious spirit, generosity and expertise in the plant world.

I’ve mentioned in my column before that I’m a couch potato sports enthusiast. I can watch anything from curling to rhythmic gymnastics (I actually kind of miss them), but my favorite sport is football. Perhaps it was the many years I spent as my older brother’s tackle dummy, or sitting in the freezing cold bleachers watching him score on an exciting flea flicker play. Whatever it was, I learned the ins and outs of the game pretty well. I’m excited about the Eagles making the playoffs. Hopefully, they will go far. But if not, I will rest easy knowing that my football fever will have another outlet: The Philadelphia Phantomz. The Phantomz are a full-contact, women’s football team that is part of The Women’s Football Alliance (www.wfaprofootball.com). Boasting almost 70 teams, WFA is the largest and most competitive women’s tackle football league in the world. The league is in recruiting mode right now, as it looks for new players for the start of the season in the spring. We spoke to one of the starting players, Amanda Avvento, as she was on her way to a winter practice session in the cold.

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