Local out comedian and performer James Bradford is hosting two film screenings to benefit Philly AIDS Thrift, Sept. 19 at PhilaMOCA and Sept. 26 at The Trestle Inn.
This isn’t Bradford’s first benefit for PAT. Last year he hosted a standup comedy benefit at Tabu.
“I did that because there was another group in town that was run by straight folk that did a queer-themed comedy show, and it felt like they were using LGBT as a party theme more than anything else,” he said. “They raised money for the William Way and they didn’t disclose how much money they had raised or what percentage of the money they were donating. It made me feel weird. I wanted to do an event for an organization that I believed in that was completely queer, where everyone involved identified under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. Everyone involved donated their time and it went really well. We raised a little bit under $1,000.”
Bradford said this benefit, which features screenings of “Grandmother’s Gold” and “The Gay & Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo” by out actor and filmmaker, Brian Jordan Alvarez, known for playing Jack’s boyfriend, Estefan, on the new season of “Will & Grace” — came about almost by happenstance.
“I hadn’t planned on doing it originally,” he said. “My pal, Jordan Alvarez, creator and star of both of the films we are screening, has reached out about screening the film for festival and nonprofits free of charge. I had seen the film and thought they were hilarious. I thought that I wanted as many people as possible to see this really funny movie that is filled with this amazing, diverse cast and I always want to raise money for Philly AIDS Thrift because it’s my favorite charity in the area. Everything sort of fell into place. I hope it draws a crowd that wants to see some really fun film and want to do good.”
When asked about future benefit shows, Bradford said he will continue to switch things up to keep people interested.
“In October, we’re going to do something call ‘Boo-lesque,’ a Halloween-themed burlesque and variety show,” he said. “I will probably end up co-hosting the event. It won’t be your traditional straight-up burlesque. There will be standup comedy, music and drag. We’ll see how these go. It’s important to switch it up. We’ll do a film here, burlesque here and then maybe a Christmas show that is standup comedy or storytelling.”
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