Portraits

In her feature-length documentary “black./womyn.: conversations with lesbians of African descent,” Tiona McClodden — Ms. m. — interviews black gay women from various backgrounds about myriad subjects. Ms. m. (which stands for McClodden, but everybody mangles it so she just goes by m.) is a multi-media artist whose mission is to make visible the invisible and humanize her subjects. McClodden began her career apprenticing on music-video sets and as a freelancer working with various production companies and nonprofit organizations. She hopes her work as a filmmaker and visual artist can inspire various communities by affirming their existence in contemporary society. We turned the tables on the filmmaker and asked her a few questions.

Jimmy DePre is 23 going on the ’50s, ’60s and up. The young DePre is a mixmaster who specializes in music that was created before he was born. His love of classic hits has brought him the attention of Philadelphia music icons such as Jerry Blavat, Reenie Kane and Michael DeCero.

If you’re looking to be primped and pampered like a movie star or even a president — George H. W. Bush once personally called down for a massage — Ettore Spa in the Marriott Hotel is the place to go. The spa is run by Gary and Ettore Mastroddi, one of the city’s most famous sets of gay twins. I stopped by to speak to Ettore (aka Eddie) about life as a twin and what’s new in the beauty biz.

In 1991, Sally Jesse Raphael broke the mold with her program theme “Breaking the Stereotype: Lesbians Who Don’t Look Like Lesbians.” This was way before “The L Word” lesbian-chic era and about the time the phrase “lipstick lesbian” emerged. At the time, politics dictated that femmes weren’t supposed to get along, but upon meeting Robin Durand, a fellow Taurus and lipstick lesbian, we got along immediately. If you haven’t met Durand, she is a bodacious blonde with a powerhouse of a voice. I’ve been treated once or twice to her tear-the-house-down version of “I Will Survive.” What I didn’t know was that she comes from show biz lineage. A quick Google search of her family taught me that: During the 1950s and ’60s, her father, Tom Durand, was one of the main personalities on the popular radio station WTTM. He was the first voice heard on WTTM back in 1942, saying “testing, testing ...” before the station officially signed on, and he anchored the morning program for many years assisted by his wife Billie. The two were local celebrities for many years.

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