#ThrowbackThursday “Spring Fling ’86” The Birth of Penguin Place. (The William Way LGBT Community Center)

In 1986, I had the pleasure of working with some very special members of Philadelphia’s LGBT community to produce a “Spring Fling” fundraiser for what was to become Penguin Place. At the time, ours was a Community Center without walls.

Penguin Place 1

Spring Fling was held at the Mask and Wig Club (located on south Camac St.) I will never forget the Spring Fling or the months of planning that led up to it. Each of us made a special contribution. We had battling DJs, planned “spontaneous” entertainment that seemed to manifest out of nowhere (think “flash mob” but with jugglers, magicians, and musicians), and brilliant slide show presentations that were revealed on a rear projection screen behind a beautifully painted stage backdrop.

I was working as an AV technician at the time so my contribution was the rear projection screen, the slide projectors, lenses, and animation fader which I borrowed from work.

I have always regretted that I didn’t get to know Bill Way better. In our short friendship, he was very supportive and encouraged my creativity.

Shortly after Spring Fling, I left Philadelphia for a new job out west. By the time I returned, Bill had died. Penguin Place was a reality and had a permanent facility just two blocks north of the Mask and Wig Club. The New organizers had taken Way’s dream to the next level and was serving the community.

That the William Way LGBT Community Center has been in it’s permanent home at 1315 Spruce St. for nearly two decades is a testament to the work and dedication of the community.

I think about William Way and that odd bunch of people who inspired me to get involved in my community. It was a very brief moment in my life but it reflects the very best of the LGBT community. As we just saw with Marriage Equality, when we work together the possibilities are endless.

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News Vs. Entertainment

File this under #DiggyRant

I thought it was really nice that the whole world paused for a few days while we learned about Pope Francis. Seriously, it was the only coverage on the Nightly News!

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that selecting a new Pope is important because of how the church influences the world. But that was all we saw on the news! For two days there was very little reporting on North Korea, as if Kim Jung-Un suddenly decided, “Hey, the Catholics have just selected a new Pope. Let’s hold off on trying to kill everyone in the Western World.”

This isn’t the first time I was disappointed by network news. It’s happens more and more. Half of the local news is sports. The last ten minutes of both the local and the national news is a report on what’s coming up on tonight’s prime time TV schedule.

Can someone please tell me why the ever changing list of contestants on Dancing With The Stars is considered news worthy?

The worst is when the news anchors ask for your opinion. I Don’t Want To Know What The Average Person Has To Say About The First Lady’s Hair Cut!!! Why is the First Lady’s hair cut even news???

Hey news anchors! Don’t ask me to follow or friend you. Just give me the damn news!

…we now return you to our regularly scheduled insanity.

Language Is A Virus From Outer Space

From William S. Burroughs to Laurie Anderson. …or was that Louie Anderson?

As someone who enjoys the English language, you’d think I’d write a lot more than I do. Don’t get me wrong, I am not short on inspiration. The ideas come, but they come when I’m doing other things. By the time I get to a keyboard, the words are either gone or I’ve elaborated and embellished them to the point where I no longer recognize the original thought.

I love words. I love that the English language has so many ways to express a thought. I keep a shortcut to Dictionary.com on my desktop just so I can find the right word.

About WordPress…

I’ve been doing Tumblr for a while. I originally intended to use it as a writing tool. But tumblr is mostly pictures and politics. While I do plenty of both, I wanted to see if I could do some writing that wasn’t necessarily ranting. Who knows? Maybe I do rant better than write.

But what does all this have to do with Bill Burroughs or either of the Andersons?

See what I mean about losing the topic? When I started this entry, I had planned to show how instrumental popular culture is in exposing me to words and authors. Long before I gave serious thought to William S. Burroughs or the beat movement, I was a fan of Laurie Anderson. Very often I’ll see, read, or hear an artist say something that will lead me to explore other topics more thoroughly.

In the words of Number Five, “Input. More INPUT!”