Portraits

He holds many titles: Mr. Philadelphia, Master At Arms for the Philadelphians MC, Mid-Atlantic leatherboy 2008, founder of the Keystone boys of Leather, host of Laid Saturdays. But Stephen Mercer’s about to get a new title: husband. Mercer, aka boyshark, took the time to meet me one week before he exchanged vows.

We have some real-life heroes in Philadelphia, and the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund will honor them Sept. 25 at its third annual HEROES Party, a fundraiser recognizing leaders and allies of the region’s LGBT community. This year’s recipients — Gloria Casarez, the city’s director of LGBT affairs; the nonprofit group AIDS Fund; and the corporate awardee PNC Wealth Management — were chosen by members of the community who had attended prior Heroes events and with input from numerous community organizations. We took a moment to speak with Ron Lucente, a member of the Heroes planning committee.

Mark Twain once wrote, “Nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.” If Twain was right, Aella Diamantopoulos must be a liberal, kindly person indeed. A striking woman, Diamantopoulos speaks with a lilting accent that’s hard to place — probably because it’s from a little bit of everywhere. Born in Greece, she’s the daughter of a diplomat and has lived and studied in several corners of the world. She is currently the chief conservator at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she oversees conservation activities for paintings, frames, paper, objects and sculpture. Diamantopoulos has studied at the Université des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg in France, the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge and the Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique in Brussels, Belgium, and been awarded numerous grants, honors and fellowships for her work.

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