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04.03.09 / v.2 - i.44 It's on the Qt!
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Time, a sword that cuts both
The 1st century CE Roman philosopher Seneca
once wrote that, "time discovers truth." Last Saturday night this quote
came to mind as I listened to the different stories and speeches while
attending the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dinner . . . I left with this thought
. . . with time the truth is revealed, this truth leads us to be more
perfect in who we are as individuals and with each other.
One needs only
to "Google", "gay rights timeline," to discover our long struggle for equality
and acceptance along with stories our murders and great rejection throughout history.
In the 1st century BCE we can find the first record of a same-sex
marriage in the writings of poet Marcus Valerius Martialis. In the 4th century
CE we begin to see laws being promulgated by Christian
Emperors that criminalized same-sex sexual relationships for all Roman citizens.
If found guilty of same-sex sexual relationships Roman citizens would be condemned
to death by being burned alive in public.
By the 13th century most of Europe
had criminalized same-sex relationships making them punishable by death. We went from living as free people to being tortured
and killed simply for who we are by our birth.
Yes, time tells a great story of struggle and determination. Who we
were, who we are, and who we are born to be . . . our achievements, our
setbacks and our goals.
In 1779 we see Thomas Jefferson drafting
anti-sodomy laws for Virginia's criminal statutes, while in France we see
them moving in a completely different direction when in 1791 that nation de-criminalized
same-sex relationship between adults. France was followed by Luxembourg, and Tuscany
in 1795, the Netherlands in
1811, and Bavaria
in 1813. But, during the rest of the 19th and 20th centuries the United States
continued to criminalize our very lives while many nations continue to embrace
the truth that time revealed. It wasn't
until 1962 till the U.S. had
its first state (Illinois)
remove its sodomy law from its criminal code.
[Note: The term homosexuality didn't show up in
print until 1869 in a German pamphlet by the Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria
Just like throughout world history time continues
to reveal our truths here in the United States were with the help of
committed individuals and organizations old ways continue to be challenged and
new ways are giving birth. Time brings with it circumstance, death, chance, opportunities
and challenges all leading us closure to our full freedom . . . equality. We have come far in a short period of time,
but still there is so much more that we must achieve.
But time is a sword that cuts both ways. While it
reveals truth it can also hinder our progress where at times we see our
opportunities to advance bounded by certain timeframes . . . limited by circumstances which we must
work through more diligently, more wisely, so as to advance our goals.
When speaking of time, William Shakespeare
once wrote, "defer no time, delays have dangerous ends." I believe
that at this time in history we need to heed these words as we continue in our civil
rights battle; any delay could be dangerous to our movement because of missed opportunities.
Currently, due to the effects of election politics, I
believe we have only a two-year window to legislatively advance our agenda for equality
at the federal level. With our current President and with the Democrats controlling
both houses of Congress, time has provided a limited opportunity to move a
quantum step or two forward in our struggle to be equal.
Saturday night Chris
Matthews of MSNBC, keynote speaker at the HRC dinner, reminded us that as long
as we continue to become more equal, "this country is on its way to
becoming a more perfect union." Let us heed Shakespeare's admonishment
and not miss the opportunities that time has provided us. Act today to help advance all of us to that
more perfect union.
What It Looks Like From Here
One of the bonuses of producing the Philadelphia
Film Festival/CineFest 09 beyond premiering the films is partying
with the guests.
It all started on March 26 with the opening night at XIX Nineteen atop the Park
Hyatt at the Bellevue to celebrate the 18 year of the festivals existence
as well as honor some of the principals of the opening night film, "(500) Days
of Summer" with director Marci Web,
screenwriter Scott Neustadler (a
native son of Margate, New Jersey and a UPenn grad) and producer Steven J. Wolfe (a longtime friend of
the city's festival and new advisory member of the recently formed, Philadelphia Cinema Alliance) shared
the evening of cocktails, food, dancing and mixing and mingling with more than
The buzz of the evening was the gourmet popcorn station that satisfied all
those habitual movie goers!
For the opening night of the Festival of
Independents presented by Dive
on March 27, a posse of the cast and crew associated with the locally made
Indie film, shot entirely in Philadelphia, "The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone," led by sandwich king turned
actor Tony Luke, Jr., director James Quattrochi, producers Leo Rossi and Lynn Eastman-Rossi, screenwriter Jason Noto, all gathered for an after-party at Lucky Strikes, having satisfied a sold-out house at the Prince Music Theater.
Back in Old City, there was a private prescreening
reception on March 27 at Patou for
the gang representing "I Sell the Dead"
with Irish director/screenwriter/editor Glenn
In University City the
world premiere of "No Boundaries,"
another locally made Indie film, shot entirely in Philadelphia, attracted a sold-out house at International House on March 28. The cast and crew attended an after-party for
about an hour at Pod, then adjourned
to Mikey's where owner Jeff Sotland hosted directors Violet Mendoza and Jake Willing, producer Joyce
Koh, and actor Mark McGraw (yes,
he's the son of Phillies legend Tug
McGraw and half-brother to singer Tim
McGraw), director Shawn Swords and
screenwriter Paul Russo, Jr,
of "Wages of Spin," another
Indies flick, and, festival programmers like Mike Dennis of Reel Black, among out-of-towners, screenwriter/director Christina Won of "White Radishes" from Los Angeles, director James Affolder and actor Tyler
Chetta of "Sun Dogs" from
Entertainment legend Connie Stevens
is a "cosmo-girl"--that's her cocktail of choice. She enjoyed one at Del Frisco's on March 29 during a
Sunday brunch for 20 guests hosted by close Philadelphia friend Carol Tamburino. The guest list included friends of Tamburino's,
festival organizers Ray Murray and
myself, and cast members of the world premiere of Stevens' "Saving Grace B. Jones," Gregory James,
Evie Thompson, Melinda Chilton, Rylee Fansler and Tricia Leigh Fisher.
During her four-day visit to the city, Stevens did a lot of table hopping,
dining with friends at Sole Food at Loews Philadelphia Hotel where she was
staying, another night at La Veranda,
and an after-party for her screening, at Positano
Coast, hosted by owner Aldo Lamberti.
On March 30, Mission Grill hosted a
festival happy hour as yet another mix and mingle with fellow festival
attendees and directors like Anna Boden
and Ryan Fleck of "Sugar."
Well, if we're not seeing you at the festival, let's make sure to catch up at
the closing night party at G Lounge
on April 6. So what if it's a "school night"--it'll definitely end up being a "be-and-be-seen" scene.
For more information,
[Thom Cardwell serves as the
Development Director for PFF/CineFest 09. This spring will be the 23rd festival
in the city that he has helped to produce.]
||Thom's Table on the Qt!
Express lunch comes to Chifa.
Okay, I must offer full
disclosure--I'm a huge fan of chef/owner Jose
Garces' express lunch offerings at his other restaurants, particularly Amada, 217-219 Chestnut St., that is literally
around the corner from my office in Old
Recently, Garces premiered his latest lunch menu at Chifa, 707 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, and his newest
restaurant which features Chinese-Peruvian cuisine.
"The cuisine at Chifa is enormously
diverse, which makes it appropriate for any time of day," said Garces. "Our
new lunch menu is a celebration of fresh flavors and fascinating preparations
that can be enjoyed slowly, as a chef's tasting menu, or as our Hiram Bingham Express, for those whose
lunch hour is more limited."
For just $18 per person, Chifa's Hiram
Bingham Express is a two-course meal, including a non-alcoholic beverage,
comprised of one first- and one second-course option from the lunch menu.
Diners also have the option of chef's
tasting menu of hand-selected lunch at his discretion for $25 per
person. The third option for diners is the lunch menu items served a la carte, with prices ranging from $7
Chifa's menu for lunch includes:
Duck Wonton Soup, duck wontons with 'Peking' broth and sliced muscovy duck
breast; Garces' signature Ecuadorian Ceviche, fresh shrimp with yellow tomato
gel, avocado and crispy favas; Lomo Saltado, seared beef tenderloin with
potatoes and stir-fried vegetables; and Red Curry Del General, jasmine rice
with coconut, king grab, machas, tofu and eggplant.
Hours for lunch at Chifa will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday
For more information, call 215.925.5555; visit chifarestaurant.com
T. Burke's offers Meal Deal!
It's another great meal deal! T. Burke's Restaurant, located
inside the Dolce Valley Forge Hotel,
is currently featuring their diners' appreciation, prix fixe four course dinners for $55 per person.
Chef Jeffrey Power, former chef du
cuisine of award-winning Blackfish in Conshohocken (who also did stints in the
kitchens of Striped Bass and Le Bec Fin) has created a dining extravaganza
from his knowledge of world-class cuisines.
Highlights of the Power's menu that
changes every day includes: Earl Grey Poached Ruby Beets with domestic
goat cheese, baby spinach, orange Seared Day Boat Scallops with grilled
scallions, crispy pink lentils, Savora mustard sauce, Red Wine Glazed Beef
Short Ribs with Beach mushrooms, English Pea puree, baby bok choy and
Grapefruit Tart with grapefruit sabayon, buttery pastry, candied zest.
In addition to the prix fixe offerings, all other menu items are offered a la
carte, with daily changes.
Harbor opens Mother's Day.
Stone Harbor, 9628
Third Ave., Stone Harbor, New Jersey, will open on May 8, just in
time for Mother's Day Weekend.
Chef owner Chip Roman with business
partner John Sprandio are
transitioning their Blackfish
Conshohocken, previously located in Avalon, with a new name, location and
identity. The 5,000 square feet restaurant and bar, which will seat 200
diners and 75 patrons at the bar, will be designed by Stokes Architecture, known for such properties in Atlantic
City as Buddakan, Continental and the Chelsea Hotel.
Roman's progressive American cuisine
will feature seafood signature items as a saffron-scented Bouillabaisse, and
"Surf and Turf" of glazed beef short ribs and day boat scallops. More than 30
wines and a specialty cocktail selection have been created especially with Moore Brothers.
"I want the menu to be fun, it's the shore!" said Roman, a James Beard
semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the
Year (2008 & 2009) and Best Chef
Mid-Atlantic (2009). "I'll be cooking with some of my favorite summer ingredients,
Jersey corn and tomatoes and all of the great
fruits and vegetables from the local farmers."
Blackfish Stone Harbor will be open
for lunch, dinner and late night seven days a week, with prices for starters in the $10-19 range, entrees from $28 to 39, desserts from priced from $7 to $12 and
a bar menu with snacks ranging from
$3 to $14.
The Roman-Sprandio team explained that the restaurant is the first phase of a
three phase project called, Shelter
Haven Resort and Spa, a LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design), green hotel with 25 bayside hotel suites with
For more information, call 609.967.9100; or visit blackfishrestaurant.com
Thom's Featured Culinary Event on the Qt!
Saké to me! That's one of the things that you
might be saying during the 5th Annual Saké Fest, a celebration of the
rice-based Chinese-originated 5,000 year old drink later enhanced and refined
by the Japanese who embraced the drink as their own, will return to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market Street, in Center City,
Philadelphia, April 7, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Held each year during the Subaru Cherry
Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia, the Saké Fest introduces area
foodies to the popular Japanese drink that has versatility, similar to wine, in
being paired with everything from cheese and chocolate to the surprise of the
novice saké drinker and all varieties of ethnic foods. In fact, wine and saké share almost the same profile,
both beverages being profiled "for its fragrance, impact, sweet or dry finish,
acidity, presence and complexity."
"Samples of Japanese and American brands along with premium and several rare
sakés will be available, as will regionally micro brewed 'Jizake,' which means
small, regional saké brewer," explained Marnie
Old, an Internationally renowned wine educator and sommelier.
Old is only one of the many area food and beverage industry professionals who
will be participating in this year's Saké Fest. She said that many prominent chefs from area restaurants and catering facilities will
prepare and serve a selection of appetizers, cheeses and foods that will
complement the different types of saké. Pairing beverage with food is another
important aspect of the educating and discovering of the wonders of saké, according
Tickets are $55 per person in advance online and $75 at the door (cash only).
All net proceeds will benefit the Japan
America Society of Greater Philadelphia.
For more information and tickets, visit sakefest.com
What They Said:
Queer Asian-American designer Jason Wu, 26, knows all about
what "dress for success" means. The young, little-known label ended up on the
back of first-lady Michele Obama. All eyes were on Obama wearing an adaptation
of a silk sheath dress from Wu's signature spring collection for 2009 on a
Barbara Walters television interview. From that, all eyes in the fashion media
industry turned to Wu. "Eminently feminine, the hand embroidered dress was a
confident departure from the relatively matronly skirt suits from Oscar de la
Renta and other tried-and-true design houses that epitomized first lady attire
for years," writes Andrew Harmon (The Advocate, February 2009). Wu said of
Obama's style, "I'm not sure it's a
conscious decision, but I believe her whole [message] is about newness, about
change. And what better way to represent that than from a fashion standpoint?"
One of the nation's, if not the world's leading dramatist, Edward Albee, 81, happens to be
queer. Having written his most famous short plays, The Zoo Story, during a period when
being an "out" writer for the mainstream audience just wouldn't cut the muster,
Albee never really talked much in public about his personal life. Another of
his plays, even turned into an award-winning celebrated film, "Who's Afraid of
Virginia Wolfe?" with Hollywood heavyweights, director Michael Nichols, and a
stellar cast, led by none other than Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy
Dennis and George Segal, still resonates with film aficionados and lovers of
the stage. There were always suggestions and stories about these plays, with
their homoerotic undertones and their suggested often times clearly ambiguous
sexual tension. Of "At Home at the Zoo," now playing at the Suzanne Roberts
Theatre, through April 19, Albee told Toby Zinman (The Philadelphia Inquirer,
March 22, 2009): "And the one thing I
never think about when I'm writing a play is 'What does it mean?'. The
metaphors, the symbols, all that stuff--that gets in the way. The only thing
you can write is the reality of what's happening to the characters. You can't
write what they mean or what they represent. If you let the cumbersome
mechanism of symbol and metaphor, meaning and idea get in your way, it's going
to clog the reality."
Queer journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis has received numerous laurels for his
writing. He first burst upon the scene, after graduating from the Medill Journalism
School at Northwestern
University, in his feature on the controversial,
North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) which stirred more than a few
readers of Boston
magazine. Next came his feature on M, a 13-year-old girl secretly living as a
boy in Southern California in The New York
Times Magazine. During the past six years, he's had five cover stories in the
latter publication, focusing upon gay culture, gender identity, masculinity,
and sexual proclivity, including his so far seminal piece, "Double Lives on the
Down Low." Now living in Boston and teaching feature writing at Emerson College,
Denizet-Lewis, a native San Franciscan, has recently published his first book,
American Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life. In it, the author
bravely comes out himself--as a sexual addict. Talking to Rachel Dowd (The
Advocate, February 2009), a former student of his at Emerson, Denizet-Lewis
explains, "I do not jump with joy at the
fact that I'm coming out publicly. But I did decide to write a book about
addiction, and one of my main points is that there is too much shame keeping
people from getting the help they need. I could not in good conscience not talk
about my own addiction."
||Events on the Qt!|
Tuesday (April 7)
Sake Fest 2009
Presented by Event Navigators
Tuesday 7 April 2009 6:00 - 8:30pm
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
Admission: $55 in advance online $75 at the door - CASH ONLY
Purchase tickets here
§ The Only Event of it's Kind in the Region!
§ Experience dozens of Saké varieties
§ Taste the Finest Japanese & US brands
§ Witness the Versatility of Saké
§ Learn how to pair Saké with any food
(Adults 21 & older only)
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