September 5, 2017

Fall: A Great Time To Be Out In Philly

OutFest, Plus A Trans-Inclusive Opera & Halloween Events Round Out The Season

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Philly's OutFest is the world’s largest coming-out event. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Leaves may fall, but LGBT culture blooms this time of year in Philadelphia. Opera Philadelphia brings groundbreaking drama We Shall Not Be Moved, with a transgender main character and Bill T. Jones as choreographer, to the Wilma Theater in September. The annual OutFest unites the Gayborhood in October. Margaret Cho comes to The Fillmore Philadelphia in November. And, of course, “Gay Christmas”—also known as Halloween—is done right with Tabu Lounge & Bar’s Little Shop of Poppers zany take on Little Shop of Horrors, LGBT Night at Terror Behind the Walls and a special screening of Hocus Pocus at the Prince Theater.

To maximize the season’s offerings, visitors can book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, featuring free hotel parking, at visitphilly.com/overnight. Here’s a look at what to expect from Philadelphia’s LGBT scene this fall:

Gatherings, Festivals & Fun:

1. Pride Parade! – Writer, performer and historian Wesley Flash takes guests on a theatrical walking tour of the Gayborhood and other historic LGBT landmarks. Those who tag along can sing, dance and chant in celebration of being out and proud while honoring and learning about Philly’s LGBT heritage. September 8-17. 18th & Walnut Streets, (215) 413-1318, fringearts.com

2. Philadelphia Leather Pride Night – Leather locals head to Voyeur Nightclub for this annual celebration of Philly’s leather and kink culture. Hordes of leather-clad men and women join in a Q&A with famous dominator Sir Guy DeBrownsville, a cigar social, a live auction and a throwback dance party hosted by Ms. Philadelphia Leather 2017. And, not to snub next-door Jersey neighbors, Ms. New Jersey Leather 2017 makes a supporting special appearance. September 30. 1221 St. James Street, plpn.org

3. OutFest – The country’s largest coming-out party transforms the Gayborhood into an urban carnival, with an outdoor lounge hosted by Woody’s, an outdoor dance party hosted by Tabu, performances on the main stage, rock climbing, a mechanical bull, food and beverages and more. October 8. 12th, 13th & Locust Streets, phillygaypride.org

4. LGBT Night at Terror Behind the Walls – LGBT lovers of live horror get immersed in Eastern State Penitentiary’s prison-turned-haunted house—while feeling like they’re among friends, even as cannibals and zombie prisoners close in on all sides. Afterwards: cocktails to toast bravery by Al Capone’s cell. October 11. 2027 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org

5. AIDS Walk Philly – Now in its 31st year, this 5K is a staple of Philadelphia’s LGBT scene. Each year, thousands of participants gather in the early morning hours in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps to walk down Martin Luther King Boulevard along the Schuylkill River to Sweet Briar Road then back to the museum. Traditionally, 25 panels of the AIDS quilt are displayed on the Art Museum steps for the event. October 15. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 731-9255, aidsfundphilly.org

6. Henri David Presents: Halloween The Ball – The year’s most colorful, most photographed party celebrates its 49th year on Halloween at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. Host and Gayborhood jeweler Henri David has presided over this glorious bash since its start; his costume is always the evening’s big reveal—although his guests’ costumes certainly bring the competition. October 31. 201 N. 17th Street, (215) 732-7711

Musical & Performing Arts:

7. Gli$terThe Hum’n’Bards, a gaggle of cabaret clowns founded by Terror Behind the Walls actor and performer Anna Michael, appear in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival for their second year, this time telling the story of Shylock, Portia and Bassanio “in a world controlled by judgment and greed.” The piece stars Gayborhood singer-songwriter staple Eric Jaffe as “The Banker” and Theatre Horizon’s Christina Higgins as Shylock and is set to pop in the funky environment of South Street’s Tattooed Mom. September 7-23. 530 South Street,
(215) 413-1318, tattooedmomphilly.com, fringearts.com

8. Get Pegged – FringeArts hosts a free edition of this ongoing series with special guest Dieter Rita Scholl, a queer German actor and cabaret singer best known for starring alongside Glenn Close in the 1991 film Meeting Venus. Here, Scholl teams up with John Jarboe, artistic director for the gender-bending Bearded Ladies cabaret troupe, for an unforgettable musical set. September 15. 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-9006, fringearts.com

9. Sabroso Noche – Philadelphia belly dancer, burlesque artist and Latin dancer Jeni unites the disciplines for this delicious late-night music show at Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar. Sabroso (tasty) features performances from Gayborhood sexpert and burlesque dancer Honeytree Evil Eye, Albasario Dance Company with a salsa and Sara “Without an H” executing her sultry pole dance. September 16. 200 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com

10. We Shall Not Be Moved – Opera Philadelphia’s ambitious debut of Festival O, its season-opening festival, includes the world premiere of a co-commission between Harlem’s Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire. Showing at the Wilma Theater, We Shall Not Be Moved follows five North Philadelphia teens—one, a transgender African-American—on the run. Among other subjects, the opera explores racism, gender identity, the failure of some of the education system and the ongoing debate about the injustices of police brutality. Despite the heavy subject matter, expect a joyous, jazzy score from composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and enlivening choreography from Bill T. Jones. September 16-24. 265 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-9456, wilmatheater.org

11. Fall Ball – Nationally renowned choral group Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus hosts its annual fundraiser at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, this year embracing a swingin’ “American Bandstand” theme. The soiree includes an open bar with hors d’oeuvres, dance-floor jams by Jimmy DePre and performances by the chorus, Hotsy Totsy and The Carouselles. October 7. 1200 Market Street, (215) 731-9230, pgmc.org

12. TouchTones – This play at the Arden Theatre features a circa 1999 phone-sex call center and an engaged couple who explores role play, secret delights, and shifting identities. October 19-December 3. 40 N. 2nd Street, (215) 922-1122, ardentheatre.org

13. Little Shop of Poppers – This Gayborhood spin on Howard Ashman’s Broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors takes over Tabu Lounge & Bar. Drag queen singer and comedian Brittany Lynn plays the demonic voice of a sex toy, and local performer Porcelain, a sex shop worker who acquires her in an attempt to take over the world. October 27. 200 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com

14. St. Vincent – Known off-stage as Annie Clark, this popular, experimental electropop artist brings a dash of jazz and Bowie to the Electric Factory for her Fear The Future Tour. A believer in gender- and sexual-fluidity, Clark’s accrued a mass LGBT following since her 2007 debut and strives for her concerts to be queer-friendly spaces. November 28. 421 N. 7th Street, (215) 627-1332, electricfactory.info

Authors & Comedians:

15. An Evening with David Sedaris – Always sold out, always worth the ticket, this reading by the gay author David Sedaris beautifully tackles and embellishes everything from Sedaris’ life to this time. Sedaris will read from his latest release, Theft by Finding Diaries. A signing follows the reading at the Academy of Music. October 16. 240 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org

16. Judy Gold – An out, Jewish, lesbian comedian known for behind-the-scenes work on The Rosie O’Donnell Show and Joan Rivers-inspired standup takes the stage at Helium Comedy Club. In addition to jokes about pop culture trends and LGBT life, Gold, who hosts the Kill Me Now podcast, offers a chance to laugh during these strange political times. November 5. 2031 Sansom Street, (215) 496-9001, philadelphia.heliumcomedy.com

17. Margaret Cho: Fresh Off The Bloat – The slap-your-knee-funny queer comedian performs what she describes as a “meta” and “magical” set during this tour at The Fillmore Philadelphia. She also promises to, for the first time, discuss more serious subjects, such as her parents’ ownership of a gay bookstore in San Francisco in the 1980s. November 5. 29 E. Allen Street, (215) 309-0150, thefillmorephilly.com

Film & Visual Arts:

18. Monument Lab – As part of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s citywide installation project about the intersection of art and its role in recalling history, LGBT-identifying artists Sharon Hayes and Karyn Olivier join project curator Paul Farber at the University of the Arts for a discussion about their respective monument installations, with appearances in Rittenhouse Square and Vernon Park, respectively. The artists’ works tackle subjects like identity and the lack of female representation among Philadelphia monuments. September 20. 320 S. Broad Street, (215) 685-0750, muralarts.org

19. Hocus Pocus – Any LGBT Halloween experience is incomplete without a proper viewing of this campy 1993 Bette Midler film, and Center City’s Prince Theater steps to the plate with the definitive experience. The showing is preceded by an experts’ quizzo—with prizes, to boot. October 5. 1412 Chestnut Street, (267) 239-2941, princetheater.org

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.

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