Here’s the scoop on changes coming to Philly’s nightlife scene. Two current bars are about to change ownership. Both are already in the legal/mortgage stage. Another is planning a major redo on decor. And we’re about to get our first sports bar with something called comfort food on the first of this complex’s two floors. Not enough? There’s also a group of investors looking for a space for a new dance club. They want to create a techno video club, similar to those in Los Angeles and San Francisco. That one, from what I’ve seen, is still in the iffy stage. All in all, this shows incredible positive growth coming. The nightlife scene in Philly is going to be hot come spring.
I got a chance to take a peek at the new William Way LGBT Community Center’s archive exhibit space and its first major show, titled “Into the Streets.” It is first-rate museum quality. And it literally tells our community’s history from the 1940s to the present with photos, publications and memorabilia from the archive’s amazing collection.
Most people in Philadelphia are not aware that the city was the vanguard of the gay-rights struggle from the ’40s through the ’60s. Sure, there were pockets in New York City, San Francisco and L.A., but Philly ruled, with a constant stream of organizations and publications — and, of course, the first gay-rights demonstrations in the nation at Independence Hall.
Did you know that Pennsylvania had the first statewide gay-pride resolution signed by a governor? And the first government committee to investigate the needs of the LGBT community? That was way back in 1975. Philly had a lot of firsts, but this exhibit concentrates on LGBT protest marches and political actions from 1948. Yes, 1948. The same year Alfred Kinsey published “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.” The Mattachine Society didn’t even get its start until 1951 with Harry Hay.
This is truly a pioneering exhibit and is even more entertaining due to its excellent design. For any of you who have had a part in creating this community, you will be proud.
Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.