Category Archives: Performance

Drag

DRAG IN PHILADELPHIA: THE BOLD, THE BEAUTIFUL & THE BRUNCH
The Citywide Special—a shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $4 ($3 during happy hour)—may have originated at this beloved dive, but it’s only a part of what makes Bob & Barbara’s Lounge so fun. Thursday brings the drag show, Friday and Saturday nights feature live jazz, and karaoke ends the weekend on Sunday.
 
Credit: Photo by A. Ricketts for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

DRAG IN PHILADELPHIA: THE BOLD, THE BEAUTIFUL & THE BRUNCH

Philly Drag History, Current Shows & Queens To Follow

PHILADELPHIA, March 26, 2019 – Philadelphia’s drag scene dates back centuries—and thrives to this day. Contemporary Philly drag queens most often perform in the bars and clubs of the Gayborhood, part of Center City’s Washington Square West neighborhood. But a growing number of venues beyond the neighborhood host drag brunches, game nights, variety shows and kids’ story times.

Philadelphia men have been costuming in ruffles and feathers since the 1600s, when Swedish immigrants began a raucous New Year’s tradition that, in 1901, officially became the Mummers Parade. Modern Mummers’ costumes are bold, bright, sequined—and blue collar. Women were permitted to join their ranks in the 1980s. In 2012, the Philly Drag Mafia became the first official queens to strut in the parade.

The city’s drag nightlife dates to at least to the 1950s, when the The New Forrest Lounge—now The Bike Stop, in the Gayborhood—required reservations for drag shows such as The Fabulous Fakes. Other drag hotspots Miss P’s at 18th and Lombard streets and ’90s dance club Shampoo helped broaden the audience for local drag culture, while dive bar Bob & Barbara’s emerged as a once-a-week base for performers.

Today, drag personalities replete with tongue-in-cheek names and spectacular style make their marks at nearly every queer bar in the Gayborhood, including Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar andVoyeur Nightclub, known for hosting frequent performances by both top-tier local talent up to nationally known queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”So-called straight scenes that have gotten into the act include Northern Liberties’ Bourbon and Branch and Fishtown comedy club Punch Line Philly, hosts of brunch-time drag shows. There’s also a growing trend of drag queen story times, where queens read books aloud to rooms full of little ones.

Drag Shows:

  • Bob & Barbara’s – The South Street dive is as loved for its shot-and-a-beer special as it is for Miss Lisa Lisa, the teasing, raucous host of the bar’s Thursday night drag show. With a diverse rotating cast of new and seasoned queens, the event has the distinction of being the longest-running drag show in Philadelphia. 1509 South Street, (215) 545-4511,bobandbarbaras.com
  • Boxers PHL  Iris Spectre and VinChelle perform in a Gayborhood sports bar on Turn Out Tuesdays. Their variety show features local talent, tunes from DJ Drootrax and cocktails made with Philly-based Stateside vodka. Iris also hosts a live “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party here. 1330 Walnut Street, (215) 735-2977, boxersphl.com
  • Franky Bradley’s – The Gayborhood’s self-described “house of weird,” presents Farrah Thorne’s Get Hype showcase on the third Wednesday of every other month and hosts drag-boosted burlesque performance Honeygasm on the first Sunday of every month. The shows take place upstairs in an area complete with a corner stage and modern sound system, all bolstered by a funky ’70s-hippie vibe. 1320 Chancellor Street, (215) 735-0735, frankybradleys.com
  • FringeArts – This performing arts venue attached to brasserie La Peg presents queer cabaret Get Pegged about once per month fall through winter. The Bearded Ladies Cabaret founder John Jarboe hosts the series, which features diverse queer musical and burlesque artists from Philly and beyond. The venue also hosts a variety of drag shows as part of the fall Fringe Festival. 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-9006, fringearts.com
  • GayBINGO! at Congregation Rodeph Shalom – For 20 years, GayBINGO!,a fundraiser for Aids Fund Philly, has been one of Philadelphia’s most in-demand Friday night events. Every month in the fall and winter, drag hosts dress according to a theme, interact with audiences, perform numbers and call winners. 615 N. Broad Street, (215) 731-9255, aidsfundphilly.org
  • Knock Restaurant and Bar – Iris Spectre hosts All-Star Karaoke every Wednesday at Knock, a Gayborhood restaurant and bar known for its gentlemanly clientele and expertly made cocktails. 255 S. 12th Street, (215) 925-1166, knockphilly.com
  • L’Etage – The dimly lit, Paris-inspired performance space above Bella Vista creperie Beau Monde hosts one of Philly’s most popular monthly drag shows, the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret. The line stretches around the block for the performance, which features covers of beloved pop songs by the self-proclaimed world’s tallest, hairiest drag queen. The space also hosts a regular lineup of drag shows, including an amateur drag night on the first Sunday of every month from Philadelphia producer John Burd. 624 S. 6th Street, (215) 592-0656, creperie-beaumonde.com
  • The Raven Resort – New Hope, Bucks County has long been an LGBTQ destination, and every visit must include a stop at this sprawling piano bar, restaurant, motel and pool, whose legacy stems back to the 1970s. The Raven has played host to notables such as local legend Tinsel Garland and drag big-timers Paige Turner and Sherry Vine. The current roster includesLipstick Mondays, when Cyannie Lopez hosts trans and queen performers on the first and third Monday of every month. 385 W. Bridge Street, New Hope, (215) 862-2081,theravennewhope.com
  • Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar – Home to a wide-range of queer performance art, Tabu is perhaps best known for its drag variety shows, constantly being reshaped to fit with the goings-on in pop culture and cravings of local audiences. The nightclub holds competitions, cabarets, drag queen-hosted karaoke and, on the first Saturday of the month, “Christian” comedy queen Bev’s popular drag show, Bev’s Bitchfest. 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com
  • Tavern on Camac – Staying true to its reputation, the atmospheric piano bar tucked away on Camac Street hosts two regular live singing-focused drag events. Every Thursday, it’s GayBill, a night of showtune sing-alongs with host Cleo Phatra and her closest friends. On the third Saturday of every month, ukulele-strumming bearded lady Eric Jaffe hosts The Eric Jaffe Show, spotlighting some of the area’s fiercest musical talents. 243 S. Camac Street, (215) 545-0900, tavernoncamac.com
  • Toasted Walnut Bar & Kitchen – Cleo Phatra hosts Totally Toasted Trivia, a game night every Tuesday at this friendly, lesbian-owned bar. During “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” comedy queen Bev hosts viewing parties followed by karaoke. 1316 Walnut Street, (215) 546-8888, toastedwalnut.com
  • The Victoria Freehouse – A British pub named after one of history’s most outspoken queens hosts one-Saturday-a-month drag shows with themes that have been inspired by Harry Potter, “Game of Thrones” and Bettlejuice. Two or three times a year, hilarious Aunt Mary Pat, perhaps the most Philly queen of them all, performs sold-out standup. 10 S. Front Street, (215) 543-6089, victoriafreehouse.com
  • Voyeur Nightclub – The Gayborhood’s fiercest drag fans head to this after-hours club once a month to catch Philly Drag Wars hosted by local “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Mimi Imfurst. Described as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” meets “The Voice,” the competition follows a similar format to both shows, including a the lip-sync-for-your-life contest and a rotating cast of high-profile local judges. 1221 St. James Street, (215) 735-5772, voyeurnightclub.com
  • Woody’s – Drag diva VinChelle hosts a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party every Thursday during the show’s regular season. The night features drink specials and boisterous banter directed at the screen. VinChelle also hosts karaoke on Woody’s second level on Wednesday nights. 202 S. 13th Street, (215) 545-1893, woodysbar.com

Drag Brunches:

  • Bourbon and Branch – On the fourth Sunday of each month, this Southern restaurant in Northern Liberties hosts a troupe of local drag queens in Babes of Bourbon and Branch, making the restaurant and music venue one of few surefire spots to enjoy live drag with a side of grits. 705 N. 2nd Street, (215) 238-0660, bourbonandbranchphilly.com
  • L’Etage – French toast, crepes and mimosas are part of the Ladies of L’Etage Drag Brunch, when queens come together for an afternoon of song, wowing death drops and, on occasion, a naughty puppet show. 624 S. 6th Street, (215) 592-0656, creperie-beaumonde.com
  • Mifflin Tavern – Drag brunch arrives South Philly-style every fourth Saturday of the month, when comedy queen Brittany Lynn sings and jokes as diners chow down on pub grub and throw back beers. Lynn also hosts a game night at the Pennsport pub every Wednesday. 1843 S. 2nd Street, (267) 273-0811, mifflintavern.net
  • Punch Line Philly – Each Saturday, this comedy club and restaurant charges a flat fee for brunch and an all-ages drag show—with a dash of raunchiness—hosted by two-time “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contender Mimi Imfurst. The weekly performance also features longtime Philly queens such as Cleo Phatra, Brooklyn Ford and Sutton Fearce. 33 E. Laurel Street, (215) 606-6555, dragdivabrunch.com
  • SouthHouse – Tater tots may be the star attraction at this unassuming neighborhood bar in South Philly’s Lower Moyamensing neighborhood, but drag queens Brittany Lynn, Navaya Shay and Crystal Electra try to outshine them during a drag brunch every first Sunday of the month. 2535 S. 13th Street, (267) 457-3682, southhousephilly.com
  • Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar – A rotating cast of queens that includes Onyx Black, Sasha Magnolia and Patty Spaghetti hit Tabu’s sports bar two Sundays a month for the Ladies of Tabu Drag Brunch. 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com
  • The Victoria Freehouse – Old City’s atmospheric British pub gets wild on select Saturdays, when comedy queens host drag brunches with themes from Alice in Wonderland or Disney, and diners dress the part. 10 S. Front Street, (215) 543-6089, victoriafreehouse.com

Drag Queen Storytime:

  • Free Library of Philadelphia – Branches of Philadelphia’s public library get in on the drag queen story hour trend, where queens read aloud to a roomful of wide-eyed tots. Brittany Lynn is the Free Library’s most frequent storyteller. She has read at Lovett Memorial in Mount Airy and the Fumo Family Library in South Philly. Various locations, (215) 686-5322, freelibrary.org
  • Please Touch Museum – One day during Pride month, Philadelphia’s hands-on kids’ museum invites drag queens to read tales of diversity and acceptance to audiences of hundreds as part of its family Pride Celebration. The daylong event also features a dress-up corner, runway show, interactive puppet skits and singalongs. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181,pleasetouchmuseum.org

Drag Queens To Follow:

  • Ariel Versace – With a massive Instagram following and a closet to match, this self-described “life-sized Bratz doll” became the second local queen to nab a spot on the 2019 season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Versace’s newfound stardom means she’ll now be performing around the world, but followers can still catch her around Philly. @arielversace
  • Aunt Mary Pat – She eschews expensive costumes and rocks a 5 o’clock shadow, but what Aunt Mary Pat lacks in glam she makes up for in hilarity. The beer-guzzling comedy queen is the epitome of Philly, entertaining audiences at her standup sets with anecdotes about her love for Wawa and “the Iggles.” facebook.com/auntmarypat
  • Aurora Whorealis – An Alaska transplant and Gayborhood staple, Aurora is primarily a comedy queen who performs at a slew of clubs and hosts “Trivi-YASSS” on Monday nights at Tabu. She was crowned “Best Lip-Sync Artist” at the 2017 Philly Drag Awards, an annual competition at Voyeur Nightclub. instagram.com/aurorawh0realis
  • Bev – Philadelphia’s self-described “premier Christian drag queen” is, intentionally ironically, known for her “Bitchfest” drag showcase at Tabu, when she presents other queens while tossing out quip after quip. Bev’s awards include “Best Comedy Performer” at the 2018 Drag Awards, “Miss Gulf Coast Comedy Queen,” 2017 and “Miss Northeast Comedy Queen,” 2016.facebook.com/theoneandonlyBev
  • Brittany Lynn – Created at former gay club 12th Air Command in 1996, Brittany Lynn is a cornerstone of the city’s drag scene, constantly reinventing herself with new events: a talk show, standup acts, live singing, weekly showcases and story time at the Free Library, for example. In 2013, she ushered in a new era of drag-queen involvement in the Mummers Parade by establishing the Miss Fancy Brigade, an achievement Philadelphia City Council recognized by honoring her with her own, official holiday: March 15 is Brittany Lynn Day. phillydragmafia.com
  • Iris Spectre – Every queen has her niche, and for this 2016 Philly Drag Awards “Drag Queen of the Year,” it’s costumes, costumes, costumes. The Parsons School of Fashion-trained designer’s costumes have been weird, fantastical and downright chic. She’s created pieces for big-name queens such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” favorite Peppermint. facebook.com/Iris-Spectre
  • Martha Graham Cracker – Pig Iron Theatre Company co-founder by day, Dito van Reigersberg may be better known by his nighttime persona, Martha Graham Cracker, a hairy drag queen who skips the lip-syncing in favor of glass-shattering live vocals. Martha has been a regular on the drag performance circuit since 2005 and recently performed a one-woman show at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. facebook.com/MarthaGrahamCracker
  • Mimi Imfurst – Notorious for competing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars,” Philadelphia-based drag performer and event producer Mimi Imfurst hosts an all-ages Drag Diva Brunch at the Punch Line featuring a boisterous cast of local drag queens. She also produces theatrical events and national drag tours. mimiimfurst.com
  • Miss Lisa Lisa – All-out with her charm offensive, Miss Lisa Lisa—“so nice, she was named twice”—is a local icon, strutting her stuff and touting her strong-as-steel personality weekly at Bob & Barbara’s on South Street. She’s also been known to introduce new queens and performers at-large to the scene with her freestyle slots during her shows.phillydragmafia.com/project/underboss-miss-lisa-lisa
  • VinChelle – This Nashville-born University of Arts graduate, who also goes by the nickname Shea Better Werk, also refers to herself as a “tribal queen.” The “Drag Queen of the Year” at the 2017 Drag Awards and winner of the 2015 Drag Wars often incorporates African costumes, song and dance into her stage shows. facebook.com/SheaButterWerk

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

Thank you to Arturo Varela for the content of this post.

arturo@visitphilly.com

Tweet Us: @visitphillyPR

Tweet It: The queens and the scene that make Philadelphia drag so fun @visitphilly: https://vstphl.ly/2G84zRN

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new DoNArTNeWs.com

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.

DoNArTNeWs – celebrating eleven years reporting on Philadelphia artists and art.

Ragas

Utsav Lal, Jesse Sparhawk, HOUSE Gallery

UTSAV LAL & JESSE SPARHAWK

live at Fire Museum Presents

Indian Classical Ragas on the Piano


Philadelphia, PA, United States HOUSE GALLERY 1816

Young Steinway Artist and Yamaha Jazz Scholar, creative pianist /composer Utsav Lal, often known as the ‘Raga Pianist’ has set a precedent with his innovative handling of Indian Classical music .

Seating is limited and is on a first come basis. For more info: steven@museumfire.com 

HOUSE GALLERY 1816,  1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125 between Berks and Montgomery.

Transport: Closest septa stop is Berks St and you can cut across the school feed for a shortcut into Fishtown. Bus# 25 stops on Frankford Ave.

Raga Malkauns (Alap-Jod-Jhala) London – Utsav Lal (2018)

Ragapianist. Published on Jul 16, 2018, Live at St. Nicholas Church , Chiswick, London May 2018

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new DoNArTNeWs.com

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.

DoNArTNeWs – celebrating ten years reporting on Philadelphia artists and art.

SLEEP

SLEEP + MUSIC, MikronesiaRecording in Manila, India in the foothills of the Himalayas. Michael McDermott

SLEEP + MUSIC

Event Horizon
Friday April 13, 8pm
Juan Garces, BEEP, Mikronesia w/ William Fields​
The Rotunda

“Hello everyone, I’m back from three months of traveling, listening, creating, sharing and exploring in Thailand, Myanmar and India. I’m excited to be back in Philadelphia for the month and looking forward to sharing lots of sounds with the world!” – Michael McDermott

First up, two events the weekend of April 13a solo concert and a day-long retreat / sleep concert!

Mikronesia will be playing a solo show at Event Horizon at the Rotunda. For this show Michael Mcermott will be joined by his old friend and artistic collaborator William Fields on real-time visuals. This show will feature a live presentation of Mikronesia’s Landscapes work. In this series he works with field recordings from environments and decontextualize them using “sonic photography” techniques to explore the intersection of inner and outer landscapes realized through memory, emotion, time and place. This show will feature recordings and sonic memories from ThailandMyanmar and India.

I can’t wait to experience these sounds on the nice sound system at the Rotunda and with Bill’s realtime visuals, it’s going to be something else! (Below is an image of Bill’s work, check out his website williamfields.com for more of his amazing AV work).

SLEEP + MUSIC, Mikronesia

Event Horizon

Friday April 13, 8pm
Juan Garces, BEEP, Mikronesia w/ William Fields​
The Rotunda4014 Walnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/189508868357704/

SLEEP + MUSIC, Mikronesia

Dream Yoga Retreat

April 14th – 15th

“The second event will be a day-long retreat of yoga, meditation, Deep Listening and an overnight sleep concert. This will be another event with a collaborator from my past with yoga/meditation teacher Michelle Stortz. Michelle and I worked together years ago when I provided music for some of her beautiful choreography. Currently Michelle and I both teach meditation at Springboard Sangha. In addition she does amazing work teaching yoga to people with cancer and as a Yoga Nidra (sleep yoga) teacher.

For this retreat, we’ll both be teaching and leading talks, classes and sessions throughout the day. Plus I’ll perform an overnight sleep concert at the retreat for people to practice lucid dreaming and listening (un)consciousness. If you’ve never experienced one of my overnight sleep concerts or my meditation / Deep Listening teaching, now is your chance! Also St. Raphaela Center is a beautiful space with lots of outdoor areas for walking and listening. The retreat cost includes the teaching, space, three meals and a place to sleep. Be sure to bring a sleeping bag and blanket for the overnight concert.” – Michael McDermott

Thank you to Michael McDermott, Mikronesia, for the content of this post.

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new DoNArTNeWs.com

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.

DoNArTNeWs – celebrating ten years reporting on Philadelphia artists and art.

Unwilling

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy

EXPLORE MELANCHOLIA AT HAVERFORD’S CANTOR FITZGERALD GALLERY

HAVERFORD, Pa.- What if we saw sadness not as a giving up or giving in, but a getting out? What if, instead of being seen as a passive pain, feeling deep sorrow was understood to be an act of resistance? What if, given the current political and cultural moment in which so many feel ignored, maligned, or repudiated by the systems and people in power, mourning was not just an understandable reception, but a useful action against those systems? A new exhibit in Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, opening March 23, showcases the work of five artists from across different media to grapple with such questions of power, agency, and melancholy.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy, curated by Vanessa Kwan and Kimberly Phillips, proposes a re-consideration of melancholia as defined through our contemporary condition. Resisting its historical definition as an affliction that creates disorder or inactivity, this exhibition reimagines passive sadness as a powerful refusal, a conscious (or unconscious) “standing aside,” a willful production of generative failures and resistant potencies. Each of the five contributing artists begins with the idea that outside the boundaries of “contentment” resides a potent flourishing. Unwilling is a resistance and a proposition: it responds to the profound cultural reckoning we are witnessing in this moment in time, as the boundaries and exclusions of state-defined citizenship become increasingly fraught.

The exhibition crosses disciplinary boundaries. Dance artist Justine A. Chambers explores choreographies of resistance, growing out of a studious and embodied interpretation of all the minor gestures on the way to hands raised in surrender. Sculpture- and performance-based artist Mike Bourscheid mines absurdities in relation to our cultural preoccupations with masculinist productivity, while social practice artist Ginger Brooks Takahashi works to create new networks of value in the production of food, drink, and community. (Her piece in the exhibit is a collaboratively created-and consumed-beer.) The “weeping” willow is at the center of media artist Noa Giniger‘s multi-faceted take on reversals of sadness and the refusal to succeed, and poet and critic Billy-Ray Belcourt positions mourning as a defining aspect of an active and resistant subject and proposes that the future must address this subject head on.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy will be on view March 23 through April 27 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. To celebrate the exhibit’s opening, there will be several events during its first week. On March 22, ahead of the official opening, a roundtable with four of the featured artists and the two curators will be held from 4:30 to -6:30 p.m. in the College’s new Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM) building, room 201. On March 23, Justine A. Chambers will perform an all-day, campus-wide, site-specific commission, ten thousand times and one hundred more. And later that day, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a talk with the curators followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m., featuring Ginger Brooks Takahashi’s Wyrt Blod Gruyt, a custom-made beer commissioned specifically for the exhibit and brewed in collaboration with Meredith Rebar Williams and Home Brewed Events. For further event details: exhibits.haverford.edu/unwilling.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy is made possible with support from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the Hurford Center’s 2017-18 faculty seminar “The Arts of Melancholy,” which is led by John B. Whitehead Professor of Humanities and Professor of Music Richard Freedman.

Overseen by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and located in Whitehead Campus Center, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, contact Matthew Seamus Callinan, associate director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and campus exhibitions, at (610) 896-1287 or mcallina@haverford.edu, or visit the exhibitions program website: www.haverford.edu/exhibits.

Haverford College is located at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pa., 19041

Thank you to Rebecca Raber for the content of this post.

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure Statement

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.