Category Archives: Performance

Altering

Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Artist-in-Residence Roderick Coover, in collaboration with Nick Monfort and Adam Vidiksis.

The Altering Shores

artist Roderick Coover, poet Nick Montfort, and composer Adam Vidiksis

Interweaving sound, language and image, The Altering Shores is a four screen video performance with live music. Set in the marshlands and industrial wastelands of our local Delaware River watershed and others worldwide, the experience presents a kaleidoscope of climate futures through fragmented language and multi-layered sounds and images. Participants are guided through this uncertain terrain by lead artist Roderick Coover, poet Nick Montfort, and composer Adam Vidiksis.

Beginning on Saturday, November 16 at 4pm you can experience the project via short 360-degree vignettes, viewable at four unique virtual reality pop-up stations around the University of Pennsylvania campus. The stations will appear from 4-6pm on Nov 16, 19, 21, and 23. 

Click here for a map of the locations.

The Altering Shores, Main Performance
Saturday, November 23 | 7:30 PM

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6219
For tickets, call 215.898.3900.

Reserve Tickets

November 23, 2019, Harold Prince Theatre

Environmental Storytelling & Virtual Reality

November 22 – 23, 2019

Register


Environmental Storytelling & Virtual Reality will explore environmental research and virtual reality (VR) across two days of talks, film screenings, workshops and a live multimedia performance for students, faculty, and staff at Penn and beyond. 

The festival is organized around three keywords that illuminate the connections between interdisciplinary environmental research and virtual reality technologies and experiences: empathy, education, and action on climate. As authors of the October 2018 IPCC Special Report have urged, action on climate must come now, from individuals and institutions across sectors and across languages and borders. The forecast of 1.5 degree surface warming already by 2040, as dire as it is realistic, points to the need to wrench down greenhouse gas emissions to slow the current acceleration of ongoing climate change.

It also hints at the creative and imaginative combinations of scientists, humanists, artists, and environmental and public health advocates that we can bring together to nurture, in the language of the IPCC report, “the wide scale behavior changes consistent with adapting to and limiting global warming to 1.5 C.”

The IPCC report also suggests the role of emotion. Taking action on climate depends centrally on empathy. And, if that empathy is to make positive environmental impacts, it needs education. Touted in headlines as “the ultimate empathy machine,” virtual reality holds great promise as an educational tool, but remains largely untested. In this gathering of scientists, artists, educators, and the interested public, we want to put this claim to the test to see how VR and immersive storytelling might catalyze action on climate. 

The event’s invited guests work at the forefront of VR, AR, and game design in educational institutions, in media and journalism, and in informal community spaces promoting public health, environmental literacy, and climate solutions.

RODERICK COOVER holds a BA from Cornell University (1989), an MA from Brown University (1994) and a PhD in the history of culture, with a specialization in media arts and anthropology, from the University of Chicago (1999). His films and new-media works include Unknown Territories (2011), Vérité to Virtual (DER, 2008), The Theory of Time Here (Video Data Bank, 2007), and Cultures in Webs (Eastgate, 2003), among others. His scholarship has been published in journals such as Film Quarterly, Visual Studies, and Visual Anthropology and in books such as the SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods. As co-editor of the recently published Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts (University of Chicago Press), Professor Coover examines the impact of new technologies in the humanities and arts.

nickm.com . Nick Montfort

poet & professor of digital media, Massachusetts Institute of Technologydirector, The Trope Tank . curriculum vitae . biography . contact meall courses . MIT fall 2019 courses: Exploratory Programming . Interactive Narrativedigital poems . if . misc . Post Position (blog) . Nomnym (naming company) . Synchrony (demoparty)

Hyperdyne by Adam Vidiksis at IRCAM ImproTech Philadelphia

Thank you to The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities for the content of this post.

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Epic

Suffragists in a Parade is an early 20th century photograph that is part of 19th Amendment an exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Philly Welcomes A Centennial For Women’s Rights, New Hotels & More In 2020,Major Art Exhibits and Epic Anniversaries

Philadelphia and The Countryside® will give visitors many reasons to visit in 2020. The Philadelphia Museum of Art will complete phase one of its dramatic renovation—and unveil its new spaces in concert with an exhibition of works by Jasper Johns, which will occur alongside a complementary mirror exhibition of Johns work at the Whitney. The entire region is getting behind the 19th Amendment’s centennial with Women 100 programming throughout the year. In other anniversary news, the Philadelphia Orchestra has planned a weeks-long musical celebration to mark Beethoven’s 250th, and PHILADANCO wraps its 50th year of innovating in dance with must-see performances. Hotel openings include the city’s first W Hotel and a luxurious revival of River House at Odette’s in New Hope, Bucks County. All these new events are amazing, but in truth, Philadelphia and The Countryside has enough amazing annual events, visiting is great any time of year.

Here are some of the major events and openings to cover in the new year:

Museum News:

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art – The Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s landmark circa 1928 institution unveils the completion of its Core Project, a major redesign by architect Frank Gehry. The last phase of the project will welcome 23,000 square feet of new gallery space, reclaiming space beneath the East Terrace (site of the Rocky steps) for galleries of early American, modern and contemporary art. It will also reveal the renovation of the West Entrance and Lenfest Hall, create a major gathering space called the Forum (replacing Van Pelt Auditorium) and reopen the southern portion of the Vaulted Walkway. 
  • Fall 2020. In addition, the museum is partnering with the Whitney Museum of American Art on simultaneous exhibitions of the work of Jasper Johns, considered the country’s most significant living artist. The unprecedented collaboration chronologically shows paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, books and costumes that mirror the other’s display, creating an immersive exhibition that itself, is a study in Johns’ fascination with reflections. October 2020-February 2021. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

Performances:

Remote overhead shot of the Philladelphia Orchestra
  • BeethovenNOW – The Philadelphia Orchestra marks Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday in two epic celebrations. The first invites pianists Yefim Bronfman, Daniil Trifonov and Emanuel Ax to perform all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos (January 23-February 8, 2020). Next, the Fabulous Philadelphians spend four weeks juxtaposing Beethoven’s nine genre-transforming symphonies with contemporary works from composer-in-residence Gabriela Lena Frank and her diverse composers from the Creative Academy of Music. March 12-April 5, 2020. January performances, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street; following performances, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1900, philorch.org
  • PHILADANCO’s 50th – The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) continues its 50th anniversary celebration by hosting the 32nd International Conference and Festival of Blacks in Dance at the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ Merriam Theater and SEI Innovation Studio, as well as the DoubleTree Philadelphia, Cambria Hotel Philadelphia and The University of the Arts (January 14-19, 2020). The company’s season culminates with Fast-Forward, a look at the future of choreography in a co-commission with Toronto’s Dance Immersion, Vietnam’s Thang Dao, Broadway’s Ray Mercer and choreographer Kathy Smith. April 17-19, 2020. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 387-8200, philadanco.org
PHILADANCO’s 50th – The Philadelphia Dance Company

Sports:

  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The Women’s Professional Golf Association (PGA)’s second-longest running tournament—and one of five majors on the tour—brings 156 of the world’s best golfers to Delaware County’s circa 1896 Aronimink Golf Club for the first time. Aronimink’s course was designed in 1926 by renowned Scottish architect Donald Ross. June 23-28, 2020. 3600 St. Davids Road, Newtown Square, (610) 356-8000, KPMGWomensPGA.com

100th Anniversary of 19th Amendment:

Seat at the Table – A free, seven-day-a-week, interactive art exhibition by Dome Collective.
  • Votes for Women: A Visual History – The Brandywine River Museum of Art displays and explains century-old political cartoons, plays, posters, parades and fashion that formed the visual culture of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. Drawings, illustrations, photographs of marches and rallies, clothing and accessories—especially sashes—re-create and contextualize this time of tangible art and physical action, long before social media or television. February 1-June 7, 2020. 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywine.org
  • WomenNOW Concert Series – Women who are composers, conductors, instrumentalists and vocalists star throughout the Philadelphia Orchestra’s season. Through June 6, 2020. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1900, philorch.org
  • 19th Amendment – The National Constitution Center’s upcoming exhibit about the movement for women’s voting rights will expand on the permanent exhibit Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality. The new exhibit explores constitutional arguments for and against women’s rights and offers fascinating historical context, spotlighting multiple generations of advocates and exploring the complex debates surrounding rights for African Americans versus rights for women. Summer 2020. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
  • Women 100 – This series of programs and events that celebrates American women and sparks new ideas about the path to gender equality, presented by Drexel University’s Vision2020, is the largest centennial celebration in the United States honoring the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitutionwomen100.org
    • Seat at the Table – A free, seven-day-a-week, interactive art exhibition by Dome Collective invites the public to experience women’s representation in places of power (seats at tables) through 3D infographic furniture, while a wall of interactive screens introduces gender barrier-breakers throughout women’s history. March 1-September 2020 (exact date TBA). Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, domecollective.com
    • SHE Leads Road Rally – Race car drivers pull an all-night, roundtrip road trip from East Falls in Philadelphia to Seneca Falls, New York, site of the first Women’s Rights Convention. (Buses also available.) June 19-20, 2020. Drexel University College of Medicine, 2900 W. Queen Lane, women100.org
    • Toast to Tenacity™ – Independence Mall honors the 100th anniversary of voting rights for women—Women’s Equality Day—with midday speakers, live music and glasses raised to suffragists. August 26, 2020. 599 Market Street, phlvisitorcenter.com
    • Celebrating Women – This 2,500-person celebration of American women begins with a ceremony featuring music, performance segments and a salute to 100 women who have blazed trails for others to follow in a multitude of fields. September 16, 2020. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, women100.orgkimmelcenter.org
Votes for Women: A Visual History, Brandywine Museum of Art.

Hotels:

  • W Philadelphia and Element Philadelphia – Center City will welcome two 52-story, side-by-side Marriott properties. The vibrant, modern W Philadelphia (the city’s first W hotel) will have 295 luxurious rooms, along with a bar terrace, Living Room lounge, lap pool and 22 meeting rooms. Philadelphia’s rapidly expanding, wellness-focused Element (another first for the region) will have 460 rooms. Early 2020 (dates TBA). W Philadelphia, 1439 Chestnut Street, w-hotels.marriott.com; Element Philadelphia, 1441 Chestnut Street, element-hotels.marriott.com
  • River House at Odette’s – The site of Bucks Country’s beloved cabaret greets a 38-room boutique hotel overlooking the Delaware River. Cabaret queen Odette Myrtil’s legacy remains in the vaulted-ceilings Piano Lounge, luxurious textiles, amazing views, a members-only rooftop bar, spectacular river view ballroom for weddings and events of up to 200 guests and a resurrected Odette’s, known for whiskey cocktails and local menu. Spring 2020. 274 S. River Road, New Hope, (215) 682-2022, riverhousenewhope.com
  • The Hyatt Centric Hotel – Philadelphia firm DAS Architects is behind the rustic modern design—and targeting LEED Silver certification—for 13-story, 332-room new construction one block from Rittenhouse Square. The Hyatt Centric will offer a second floor restaurant and onsite underground parking. Summer 2020 (date TBA). 17th & Chancellor Streets. hyatt.com

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 Cara Schneider, VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, for the content of this post.

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Dream

I Have A Dream
I Have A Dream, Virginia Repertory Theatre

Spring 2020 Stages of Discovery Performance Series Gordon Theater, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts 

I Have A Dream

The phenomenal impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is chronicled in this compelling dramatization of the life and times of one of the most influential and charismatic leaders of the American Century. Inspired by the arrest of Rosa Parks, Dr. King puts his philosophy of nonviolent protest to work. He gains recognition and becomes the dominant force in the Civil Rights Movement during its decade of greatest achievement.

Interested?…RESERVE NOW!

I Have A Dream

High quality live performances for School Audiences & Families
$8.00 per ticket Camden, NJ students & residents; all others $10.00 per ticket
Get 1 adult ticket free per every 10 student tickets purchased
Reservations are required, Contact: Miranda Powell, 856-225-6202, miranda.powell@rutgers.edu

Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts, Rutgers Camden Center/Arts, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 3rd Street, between Cooper & Pearl Streets, Camden, NJ 08102

Rest in Peace Elijah Cummings, Rest in Love, Rest in Power.

Thank you to Miranda Powell for the content of this post.

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Four

Four Must-Experience Art Events This Fall In Philadelphia

Four Philly Art/Music
Moon Viewing Platform by Nadia Hironaka, Matthew Suib and Eugene Lew, is part of
Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park, through October 19, 2019.

by Arturo Varela

One-of-a-kind artistic installations and experiences: Philadelphia’s full of them in October. Visitors can enjoy three weekends of audio-visual stimulation along the footprint of the Rail Park; five Halloween-themed experiences by famed choreographer Brian Sanders; an eerie, three-dimensional Ghost Ship along the Delaware River; and a colorful display of spinning tops (large enough to spin humans) at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

The best way to enjoy these and other fall happenings in Philly: the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, offering free parking and other perks and bookable at visitphilly.com.

  1. Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park – For three Saturdays in October, Philadelphia’s emergent Rail Park and its surrounding neighborhood hosts a new festival that combines audio-visual art installations and diverse musical performances that are all shaped by their surroundings. Taking place above and below city streets, the 20 performances and programs honor the past, present and future of the historic corridor along the famed Reading Railroad. The event is a collaboration between Friends of the Rail Park, Mural Arts Philadelphia and America Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter. Through October 19, 2019. Various locations between Vine & Spring Garden Streets, 9th & 18th Streets, muralarts.org
  2. 2nd Sanctuary: A Multi-Experience Halloween Attraction – Brian Sanders’ JUNK brings Halloween-inspired performances to 2nd Sanctuary, a 19th-century Victorian church in the city’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood. The five distinct experiences—all focused on the 1970s and all encouraging audience participation—include a virtual reality, live action tour; a modern dance performance; and an escape room (all three of which require separate tickets; other two experiences included with all ticket purchases). Through November 3, 2019. 2040 Christian Street, (267) 406-6080, briansandersjunk.com
  3. Ghost Ship – A 90-foot, site-specific, 18th-century ghost ship appears after nightfall on the Delaware River between Race Street Pier and Pier 12 (near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge). The eerie, three-dimensional hologram, created by Biangle Studio, recalls the free and forced migration people made on these American waters. Visitors to the ship can also enjoy the River Beer Garden at Race Street Pier, featuring food from Lost Bread Co. Bakery and drink from Mainstay Independence Brewing Company. Through November 3, 2019. (215) 922-2386, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  4. Los Trompos – The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Commonwealth Plaza is filled with more color and movement than usual thanks to Los Trompos (translation: the spinning tops), a creation of Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. The installation features 10 beautifully woven three-dimensional spinning tops of various shapes and sizes that showgoers can sit in and spin on—all in an effort to promote collaboration and community interaction. Through November 17, 2019. 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
2nd Sanctuary: A Multi-Sensory Halloween Experience

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.

CONTACT: Arturo Varela, (267) 765-0367, arturo@visitphilly.com

Tweet Us: @visitphillyPR

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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

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

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