Local biz group gets top national honor
Jul 31, 2014 | 155 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Independence Business Alliance has been named the top LGBT chamber of commerce in the nation. In an announcement made Thursday at its Business & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce named IBA the 2014 Chamber of the Year. IBA serves 11 counties in the greater Philadelphia region. NGLCC represents 52 affiliated chambers throughout the nation. “The IBA is excited to share this honor with the local LGBT and allied business community we serve," said IBA executive administrator Tom Cavanaugh. "We aim to promote growth and economic development in our region. It is an honor to be recognized for our hard work, and we hope to inspire Philadelphia for years to come.” To garner the top award, a chamber must illustrate sustained growth, relevance to the LGBT community and engagement in local and national policywork, the LGBT business-certification effort and overall business equality. NGLCC co-founder and president Justin Nelson said IBA is "developing innovative ways to engage with their community." Nelson noted that board president Rich Horrow, along with IBA board and staff, "truly embody the spirit of national/local partnership. Their work partnering with major corporations, their extensive educational and outreach programming and their engagement with the local business community is consistent and impressive.”
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Trans youth documentary debuts in New Hope
by Matty Bennett
Jul 31, 2014 | 25 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>‘PASSING ELLENVILLE’ CO-DIRECTORS GENE FISCHER  (FROM RIGHT) AND SAM CENTORE  WITH DOCUMENTARY SUBJECT JAMES  </b>
‘PASSING ELLENVILLE’ CO-DIRECTORS GENE FISCHER (FROM RIGHT) AND SAM CENTORE WITH DOCUMENTARY SUBJECT JAMES
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“Passing Ellenville” is a documentary about two transgender youth, James and Ashlee, living in the small town of Ellenville, N.Y. The film, from co-directors Gene Fischer and Sam Centore, made its East Coast premiere at the New Hope Film Festival July 31. “Passing Ellenville” opens with shots of the New York countryside: rolling green hills titivate the landscape behind boarded-up shops and graffitied brick walls of abandoned buildings. The film delves into the struggles of James and Ashlee with their families, personal relationships, health-care issues and Ellenville community members. The documentary started out as a still photo-essay project from Fischer, which he worked on for about a year. The photos chronicled three transgender youth, but one young person had to decline participation in the documentary because his family did not support him. Fischer met Centore, a graduate of the film program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, through a mutual friend, and the two decided to start filming because they felt the stories were so riveting. Fischer said he had a good working rapport with Centore and they shared a similar vision for the project. “Our primary goal is awareness,” Fischer said. “Ideally, you want to create awareness on a larger level. It’s to make people see what they don’t see in the media. All you see in the national media are these really positive stories. This piece shows what people don’t see — the in-between. What it’s like when you’re queer and transgender in small, economically depressed towns. I think Ellenville can represent much of America.” In terms of the actual production of the documentary, Fischer and Centore were grateful for their Kickstarter contributions, which helped to fund the film. Beyond the struggles of funding the project, the co-directors described the difficulties of triaging the large amount of scenes and storylines they filmed to keep the documentary to under 20 minutes — necessary for acceptance into certain film festivals. “I think a main challenge making the film was to take this broad theme of what it’s like to be transgender in a small town and make it into a short piece,” Centore said. “We need to let the viewer experience their space and just observe them, but we don’t have a lot of time to tell everything we want to.” Even with the short amount of time allotted to present Ashlee and James’ stories, “Passing Ellenville” presents the cruel realities of transgender life in the United States. Both directors felt these stories do not get enough attention and are often overshadowed by the celebration of various transgender celebrities. “I had people come up to me after Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time magazine, and I think people see that kind of stuff in the media and think, Oh, things are great — but I think it creates a false complacency,” Fischer said. “If you interview James and Ashlee, they wouldn’t be so quick to say things are positive. They met when they were at the same teen shelter, and they still struggle with acceptance in their own families. So, you might see these nice things in the media, but it’s not really like that.” Centore echoed his co-director’s sentiments, commenting on why he thinks the media tends to focus only on the positive when it comes to transgender issues. “I think it has something to do with people’s willingness to skip ahead,” Centore said. “We’re still discussing gay marriage, but then people want to say that everyone accepts transgender people. I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but I think we accept it in a very superficial way.” As the co-directors look to the future of their documentary film project, they hope to find more funding for a longer version of “Passing Ellenville.” Fischer said they have talked to one cable network so far, and the main goal will be taking it to the next level of awareness. Fischer and Centore also have another project in the works, “All About Amy.” Amy is a 53-year-old transgender woman who helped James and Ashlee through their struggles in Ellenville. “Passing Ellenville” will be shown at various film festivals throughout the next year, including the Rhode Island International Film Festival on Aug. 5.
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Out & About: Aug. 1-7
Jul 31, 2014 | 42 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>ATLANTIC (ROCK) CITY:<b/> Rock titans Kiss and Def Leppard have teamed up for a tour that is hitting the area twice this weekend: 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J., and 7 p.m. Aug. 3 at Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, N.J. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.defleppard.com/tours/summer-tour-w-kiss-2014">www.defleppard.com/tours/summer-tour-w-kiss-2014</a>.
ATLANTIC (ROCK) CITY: Rock titans Kiss and Def Leppard have teamed up for a tour that is hitting the area twice this weekend: 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J., and 7 p.m. Aug. 3 at Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, N.J. For more information, visit www.defleppard.com/tours/summer-tour-w-kiss-2014.
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<b>CHOICE CUTS:</b> Catch the wildly fun gender-bending rock musical “Hedwig & The Angry Inch” when it is screened 8 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. For more information call 215-922-6888.
CHOICE CUTS: Catch the wildly fun gender-bending rock musical “Hedwig & The Angry Inch” when it is screened 8 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. For more information call 215-922-6888.
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<b>CHILDREN’S TELEVISION TWERK-SHOP:</b> Former Disney Channel star and pop singer Miley Cyrus will have tongues wagging when she brings her Bangerz Tour to town 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-389-9543.
CHILDREN’S TELEVISION TWERK-SHOP: Former Disney Channel star and pop singer Miley Cyrus will have tongues wagging when she brings her Bangerz Tour to town 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-389-9543.
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<b>IN ROARING COLOR:</b> Pop superstar Katy Perry brings her Prismatic Tour to Philadelphia 7 p.m. Aug. 4 and 5 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-389-9543.
IN ROARING COLOR: Pop superstar Katy Perry brings her Prismatic Tour to Philadelphia 7 p.m. Aug. 4 and 5 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-389-9543.
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Fri. 08/01 Rockstar Energy Drink Festival Hard-rock bands Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium and more perform 1 p.m. at Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, N.J.; 856-365-1300. Hedda Lettuce Movie Classics’ Interactive “Mommie Dearest” The drag personality performs and hosts a screening of the film 8 p.m. at the Rrazz Room, in the Ramada New Hope, 6426 Lower York Road, New Hope; 888-596-1027. Keyshia Cole The R&B singer performs 8 p.m. at TLA, 334 South St.; 215-922-1011. Bearlesque A bear-themed burlesque show, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at Tabu Lounge, 200 S. 12th St.; 215-964-9675. Sammy Hagar The rock singer performs 8 p.m. at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Event Center, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000. Shaun of the Dead The horror comedy is screened 9:45 p.m. at Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610-917-0223. Sat. 08/02 The Offspring, Pennywise and The Vandals The punk-rock band performs an all-ages show 6 p.m. at The Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St.; 800-745-3000. John Legend The R&B singer performs 7 p.m. at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, West Fairmount Park, 5201 Parkside Ave.; 800-745-3000. Kiss and Def Leppard The rock bands perform 7 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-348-7000. Miley Cyrus The pop singer performs 7:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St.; 215-389-9543. Billy Joel The singer performs 8 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way; 215-218-5100. Christine Andreas and Martin Silvestri at the Piano The cabaret musicians perform 8 p.m. at the Rrazz Room, in the Ramada New Hope, 6426 Lower York Road, New Hope; 888-596-1027. Lil’ Steph Presents Glitter Mania! The burlesque show runs 9 p.m.-midnight at Ruba-Club Studios, 416 Green St.; 215- 627-9831. Sun. 08/03 All Quiet on the Western Front The 1929 war film is screened 2 p.m. at Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610-917-0223. Reggae in the Park The premiere Philadelphia reggae festival, 2 p.m. at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, West Fairmount Park, 5201 Parkside Ave.; 800-745-3000. Kiss and Def Leppard The rock bands perform 7 p.m. at Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, N.J.; 856-365-1300. Mon. 08/04 Hedwig & The Angry Inch The gender-bending rock musical is screened 8 p.m. at the Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St.; 215-922-6888. Lipstick Mondays A weekly drag show featuring a changing roster of queens takes the stage 9 p.m. at The Raven, 385 W. Bridge St., New Hope; 215-862-2081. Tue. 08/05 12th Annual Gay Community Night at the Phillies The annual night for LGBT fans, 7:05 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way; 215-218-5100. Wed. 08/06 Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus Auditions Sign up at auditions@pgmc.org to audition for the chorus from 6-8 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2111 Sansom St.; 215-731-9230; www.pgmc.org. 4W5 Blues Jam Local musicians get down, 7 p.m. at World Cafe Live at the Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del.; 302-994-1400. Marc Peters of The Alarm The rock singer celebrates the 30th anniversary of “The Declaration,” performing the album in its entirety 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400. Thu. 08/07 The Burlesque Show The naughty fun begins 9 p.m. at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000. Bob and Barbara’s Drag Show The outrageousness begins 11 p.m. at Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South St.; 215-545-4511. 08/08 The Mumbles The New Orleans jazz/funk/soul group performs 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400. Passenger The U.K. folk-rock singer performs 8 p.m. at The Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St.; 800-745-3000. Opening Franc D’Ambrosio and Glory Crampton The cabaret performers serenade the audience Aug. 7-10 at the Rrazz Room, in the Ramada New Hope, 6426 Lower York Road, New Hope; 888-596-1027. GayFest! Quince Productions presents a festival of LGBT-themed plays and shows in various locations Aug. 5-23; www.quinceproductions.com. Katy Perry The pop singer performs 7 p.m. Aug. 4 and 5 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St.; 215-389-9543. Lewis Black The comedian performs Aug. 1-2 at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000. Continuing The Book of Mormon The Tony Award-wining musical comedy by the creator of “South Park” runs through Sept. 19 at Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut St.; 215-923-1515. In Dialogue: Wolfgang Tillmans Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition of images by the European photographer through Oct. 26, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Jonathan Cohn Glass: Window Aquarium Installation Graver’s Lane Gallery presents an exhibition of one-of-a-kind hand-blown glass pieces of high quality and creative design through Aug. 18, 8405 Germantown Road; 215-247-1603. The Main Dish Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition exploring how modern and contemporary kitchenware reflects attributes of the model homemaker through Sept. 28, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition about the comprehensive design for the renewal and expansion of the museum by the internationally celebrated architect through Sept. 1, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Oblivious Muse Gallery presents an exhibition of paintings by Carolyn Cohen through Aug. 31, 52 N. Second St.; 215-627-5310. Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition highlighting the works of the famed fashion designer through Nov. 30, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. That’s So Gay: Outing Early America The Library Company of Philadelphia presents the exhibition exploring gay culture through Oct. 17, 1314 Locust St.; 215-546-3181. Closing Artificial Light: Flash Photography in the 20th Century Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition of diverse examples of flash photography, which gained widespread use in the 1920s with the invention of the mass-produced flashbulb, through Aug. 3, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Christopher Titus The comedian seen on “Titus” performs Aug. 2 at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St.; 215-496-9001. Cooking with the Calamari Sisters Bristol Riverside Theatre presents the popular comedy show about life and food through Aug. 3, 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol; 215-785-0100. Picasso Prints: Myths, Minotaurs and Muses Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s response to the world of classical antiquity in nearly 50 prints from four critical decades of his career through Aug. 3, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100.
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Out pop singer gets a boost from Katy Perry
by Larry Nichols
Jul 31, 2014 | 39 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s been a whirlwind summer for out singer-songwriter Ferras. Superstar Katy Perry picked him to be the first artist she signed to her record label, Metamorphosis Music, and quickly released his self-titled EP in time for him to join her as the opening act for her Prismatic Tour. It’s quite the rebound for Ferras, who released his debut album, “Aliens & Rainbows,” on Capitol Records in 2008. It wasn’t the out-of-the-box success that label-mate Perry’s “One of the Boys” was, which was released the same year, and Ferras said he soon fell off Capitol’s radar. He then spent the next few years as an independent artist and a songwriter for other singers like Adam Lambert and Ricky Martin. “After my contract fizzled with Capitol in 2008, there was a change of hands at the label and I got lost in the shuffle,” he said. “I did go into the studio to start working on my own stuff independently because I felt like I needed to do something on my own and express myself without having to answer to anyone. To start making money for myself and live and support myself, I ended up writing for other artists. During that time I never really gave up on the idea of doing this again but you kind of go where opportunity is. When Katy came to me with the offer to be her first signing to her new label, it was a no-brainer for me because it was an amazing opportunity and it was something I still wanted to do. So here I am.” Having one of pop music’s biggest stars take you under her wing in a major label deal has some advantages, Ferras said, but at the end of the day it’s still a business and he’s expected to live up to its expectations. “It’s certainly friendlier but I don’t think that takes any responsibility away from myself in terms of having to perform and to keep myself where I’m at,” he said. “It kind of sucks but when you are signed to a major label, if you are not connecting and there isn’t something happening around your project, then people aren’t going to spend money on it to keep it alive. It’s still a machine essentially and it takes a lot to run that machine regardless of who that is. It still is pressure but I can handle it. I’m in a good space and I have a lot of people rooting for me.” Ferras’ self-titled EP finds him creating more lush and orchestrated soulful pop songs than what was heard on his debut album, showcasing his growth as an artist. “It’s a different side of me,” he said. “This is more real to who I am now. People change and in 2008 I was much younger and it was a producer-driven record. With this record, it’s more me. I’m at the helm of it, directing things and making sure things are happening the way I want them to. I feel creatively connected to it.” Ferras added that he put out an EP instead of a full-length album mostly because there wasn’t enough time before he had to hit the road to open for Perry. “Aside from EPs being the new thing, in a way it was a taste of what I am going for right now,” he said. “It was a timing thing as well. From the time I got signed with Katy to the time of the tour, there wasn’t very much time. In all honesty, I didn’t want to rush a full-length and have it not be the best it could be. I wanted to take five songs that I thought were strong and put those out. I wanted to make the tour. I just wanted to have something out so I can go on tour and not feel too rushed about it.” Ferras said he will likely jump into recording a full-length album once the tour wraps up this fall. “I’m going to go into the studio and get a head start because after the tour is over for me, I go back into the studio to finish up the record,” he said. “I definitely want to finish the album before I go back out on the road. There will be a few of the songs from the EP and a whole lot of new ones as well. I definitely have a lot more that I want to say now. After having had a month and a half away from writing and recording and wracking my brain, now I actually feel like I can get some inspiration. I’m not in my head anymore and there are definitely some things I want to say.” Even though his own career has been reignited, Ferras said he would still write for other artists should the opportunity arise. “Sometimes I’ll write a song and I’ll feel not connected to it for myself and I’ll know it is for somebody else,” he said. “I will continue to do that as well.” In the meantime, he has a few months of performing for thousands of eager concertgoers to keep him busy. “The tour is amazing,” he said. “It’s such an incredible opportunity to be able to go out in front of that many people every night and feel the energy of the crowd. I remember sitting in my parents’ house with my hairbrush as a microphone and dreaming that I was surrounded by thousands of people. I’m kind of doing that now. To be able to actually live your dream is an amazing thing. Katy’s fans have been very kind to me and have been very welcoming and embraced me. It feels good to know that they are into the music as well and not just responding to me because I have something to do with Katy. To know they are responding to the music and the lyrics is amazing.” Ferras opens for Katy Perry 7 p.m. Aug. 4 and 5 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. For more information, visit www.ohferras.com.
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