Portraits

Ah, Fringe is back and all of my favorites are once again ready to thrill, chill, entertain and educate. The always-exciting Brian Sanders’ JUNK presents “Strand,” while Tangle Movement Arts soars high above with the vertical drama “Life Lines.” Drag songstress Cookie Diorio uses her 6.5-inch platforms for some philanthropic frivolity in “Art of the Heel” and the ever-dynamic Gunnar Montana takes us into the “Kink Haüs.” In fact, there is a whole page of LGBT-identified shows and performers this year. The list includes former Portraits Timaree Schmit and Tiel Guarino and a host of other folks you know who will be participating in the SEXxy “List of Common Misconceptions.”

Like my favorite fictional hero Xena, Dr. Sheena Howard has many skills: teacher, author, filmmaker, activist, mother, wife and now comic-book creator. Howard was the first black female to win an Eisner, which in the comic world is like an Oscar. She won the award for her groundbreaking book “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation.” Howard is also the author of “Black Queer Identity Matrix” and “Critical Articulations of Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation.” She has appeared on National Public Radio, The Washington Post, ABC and Philadelphia Weekly, as well as other networks and documentaries as an expert on popular culture, race, politics and sexual-identity negotiation. She also writes for The Huffington Post, which garnered her death threats for one contentious column. In addition, Howard is the producer, director and author of the documentary film “Remixing Colorblind.”

Finding your way as the T in the LGBT acronym can be scary, especially if you’re coming to it a little later in life.

Luckily, there’s an organization in our area to assist you no matter where along the journey you fall. Renaissance is a nonprofit organization that offers hands-on help, especially for those just coming to terms with gender issues or wanting some like-minded company. We spoke with the chapter president, Kristyn King, a sassy gal with a dry wit and warm heart.

 “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”                       -J.R.R. Tolkien

Fortunately, this week’s Portrait, David Ramos of Feast Your Eyes Catering, has a fine appreciation for all three. A handsome former military man who can cook is a catch — but, sorry guys, he’s taken.

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