#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.

The Unsung Heroes of the American Workforce

I posted this to Tumblr the other day, and thought it worthy of a re-post here.

A Labor Day PSA:

The next time you go to a bar, a restaurant, or any other service oriented place of business, please remember to leave a decent tip.

TIPS = To Insure Proper Service

People in the service industry work hard to make sure you have a pleasant experience. They’ve got to keep a smile on their faces even with rude customers.

They are not slaves. Please don’t treat them as such.

The way you treat service personnel will be reflected back to you. If you treat your waiter or bartender with kindness, their gratitude will be evident. As a bartender, I periodically sent complimentary drinks to good customers. The bad ones were often made to wait.

Remember also that there are some things beyond your waiter’s control.

Your waiter is your advocate, and does everything in his/her power to bring you what you ordered. Don’t punish your waiter because the kitchen made a mistake.

Finally. If you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, stay home.

Never, ever stiff your wait staff. If the service is bad, take the waiter aside and calmly explain. Believe me, they do want to know if there was a problem so they can correct it. If you blow your cool, it will be YOU who is wrong. They can refuse you future service.

For more on Tipping, see CNN Money