Sofitel Hotel Flags & Drags

It’s hard to believe it was a week ago that the official kick off to Philly Gay Pride Month took place at the Sofitel Hotel in Center City, with the “raising” of the Pride flag. All month long they’re featuring this magnificent, huge flag greeting guests and all who walk by, while inside they have various flags representing the community.

Pride Month is an annual observance that celebrates the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) community and its history, culture, and achievements. Local leaders were on hand to commemorate the start of Pride Month as well as discuss the various events, activities, and celebrations happening in June connected with Pride as well as note the financial impact LGBTQplus tourism brings to our City.

David Weisberg, Executive Development & Communications Office, Mazzoni Center speaks to the crowd.

Other speakers included

* Brittany Lynn, Brittany Lynn’s Drag Mafia
* Sheila Hess, City Representative, City of Philadelphia

* Sharon Pinkenson, Executive DIrector, Greater Philadelphia Film Office
* Greg DeShields, Executive Director, Tourism Diversity Matters
* Sheila Alexander-Reid, Executive DIrector of PHL Diversity (PHLCVB)
* Jessica (Jess) Calter, Senior Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs, Visit Philly

* Suzanne Geyer, Director of Partnerships and Events, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association

* David Weisberg, Executive Development & Communications Office, Mazzoni Center
* Angela Bauer, General Manager, Sofitel Hotel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square

The Three Most Powerful Women in Philly:Sheila Hess, City Representative, City of Philadelphia, Sharon Pinkenson, Executive DIrector, Greater Philadelphia Film Office and Brittany Lynn, Brittany Lynn’s Drag Mafia

Speaking of Brittany Lynn’s Drag Mafia: Sofitel Philadelphia kicks off Philly Pride Month with the celebrated drag tea expanded to all four weekends of June this year, on Saturdays, June 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2023.  Look for a new spin on a time-honored tradition. Sofitel, famous for its classic afternoon tea service, will debut a new Drag Tea featuring Brittany Lynn’s Drag Mafia. Sip tea (or spill it) in the presence of fabulous Drag Queens as you enjoy delicious offerings from Sofitel’s award-winning culinary team. Drag Tea starts each week at 2:00pm and runs through 4:00pm inside Chez Colette Brasserie.
Tickets are $75 per person for standard drag tea service, or $85 with bottomless Champagne, Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Five dollars from each purchase will be donated to the William Way LGBT Community Center.Tickets are available at:


Scene: Wayne Art Center 2023 Plein Air Festival

The 15th Annual Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival kicked off on May 7, 2023 with the arrival of 32 juried, nationally recognized and emerging artists who have come to Wayne, Pennsylvania to capture the cool atmosphere and ephemeral, lush greens of spring in the Delaware Valley.

As one of the premier plein air events in the country, Wayne offers the unique opportunity to showcase work created during the festival in spacious, light-filled and state-of-the-art galleries during an exhibition that hangs until June 24, 2023.

Susie, Barton and Cary

Plein air is a term used in the art world to describe the act of painting outdoors, directly in front of the subject matter, rather than in a studio or from a photograph. The term “en plein air” is French and translates to “in the open air.” Plein air painting allows artists to capture the natural lighting, colors, and atmosphere of a particular scene, whether it’s a landscape, cityscape, or any other outdoor setting.

Brenda and Mike Holston

The practice of plein air painting became popular in the mid-19th century, particularly among the Impressionist artists. Artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro were known for their plein air paintings, which emphasized capturing the effects of light and atmosphere in their works. Plein air painting allowed them to observe and paint the fleeting qualities of nature directly, resulting in a more immediate and spontaneous style.

Plein air painting can be done with various mediums, including oil paints, acrylics, watercolors, and pastels. Artists typically work quickly and loosely, capturing the essence of the scene rather than getting caught up in intricate details. The changing light and weather conditions present challenges but also offer unique opportunities for artists to create dynamic and evocative artworks.

Nancy Campbell, Executive Director of Wayne Art Center and Valerie-Clark Roden,

The Wayne Art Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching our community through the arts. Artists from around the USA, arrived a week before the exhibition, to create the art work. The art depicting many popular spots in the area including the train depot, Wayne Hotel, countrysides, horses and even a few spots in Philadelphia like the Art Museum and my favorite Swann Fountain.

Tim Boylan and Middy Dorrance

Hai ou Hou with her works of art

Martin Geiger of Virginia
Eric Fel Guan of California
Judy Korchak and Abby Ober
Judith Broudy and Eli Packman

It was good to see Maggie Cocoran out and about photographing the social events. A longtime fixture on the social scene, Maggie chronicled the going ons at events alongside moi, and legendary snapper Susan Scovill, for the Inquirer. The Inky stopped carrying a social column and Maggie turned to her second love of selling homes. These days she does both, and photographs for Mainline Media News. Good to see her back where she belongs behind a camera, promoting all the good that happens in our area.

The Wayne Arts Center is a cultural institution located in Wayne, Pennsylvania, It serves as a community hub for artistic and cultural activities, providing a space for artists, performers, and audiences to engage with various art forms. The center offers a range of programs and services, including art exhibitions, classes and workshops, performances, lectures, and community events. Definitely check out the 2023 Plein Air Festival which runs through June 24th.


Scenes: 2023 Philly Gay Pride

Happy Pride Philadelphia! 🏳️‍🌈 What an amazing day in our city to be part of the LGBTQ community. We did a thing and broke the record for biggest pride flag in Pennsylvania and biggest celebration ever. Congrats to everyone who is out and celebrating who they are today and huge thanks to @galaeiphilly @phillypride365 and all the volunteers/participants of todays march and festival. And don’t forget hundreds of pride month events run through June 30th. See you out there fam! 📸: @codyphotographyaldrich @aversapr #pride #gaypride #pridemonth #pridefest #philly #philadelphia #phillyproud

Sunday’s Pride was the best one I’ve attended in the 30 years I’ve been attended. I love that it is celebrated in the Gayborhood, where it used to be decades ago, but never at this level of comfort, and openness.

We have made huge strides since then, despite the backlash recently against our community, especially as the “Don’t Say Gay” messaging takes hold, from a few, but very vocal, hateful group of people which in turn have place significant people in places of decision makes for the minority. Thankfully the a Judge in Tennesee has ruled the Drag ban “law” unconstitutional. I’m sure it will make it’s way up to the Supreme Court, and the judges will be reasonable and know that drag has been around since Shakespeare, and is entertainment. I digress, yesterday was beautiful.

It was a great day to hang with friends like Russ Torres, and meet new friends ….

Moi, Howard Monroe, (Happy Birthday), Kevin and Michael

Miguel and Ray

Stefi & Nicole – Congratulations on your recent Marriage. I asked them if it felt different to get married, after all the years they’ve been together. And it does. I felt the same way when I married Mike even though we were together for 20 years. Definitely a stronger connected, and security. BTW Mike was at the parade earlier, I was at the Stonewall Awards Luncheon, which I will write about tomorrow. He then went to the Art Museum with friends as my lunch ran long…. boo. But it was amazing!!

Steven, Joan, Stefi, Nicole, Matt and Jermaine who have been friends since high school back, and once roommates. You know that had to be fun!!

I didn’t take as many photos as I had in the past, but I wanted to share this day with you as it was significant. We are strong, we are visible and we’re not going away. Thank you to all the allies who have supported us over the years, and continue to support us. It’s sad to me we made so much progress, especially in the past 10 years, which is probably what rocked (some of the) right to their hateful core, they didn’t see us. (I know not all of my GOP friends support this rhetoric, but)

It’s a frightening road they’re on, but we’re not going back in the closet. Fight on especially you young ins. You are standing on the shoulders of many people who went before you, it’s important you continue to fight for your authentic self, our community and the future.


The Scene: Philly Fights Cancer Round 6

Philly Fights Cancer: Round 6, An Evening with Philadelphia Legends was held May 20, raising $6 million dollars for research and clinical trials at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Nearly 1000 guests attended the annual gala at The Fillmore Philadelphia. The evening started out with two parties, a higher ticketed party was held at the Fillmore, with a Young Friends party across the street at Punchline Philadelphia attended by 350 people.

Around 8:30 the two parties merged with young friends headed upstairs to watch the honoree program, hear a bit about the missions and enjoy a slew of Philadelphia related artists entertain the crowd.

Including The Roots (Black THought and Questlove aove – Photo by Lisa Lake), Daryl Hall, Kathy Sledge, and Amos Lee, made for an incredible evening of music. The event was organized to honor the legacy of Madlyn Abramson, who was a Philadelphia-born philanthropist, visionary, and the founder of Philly Fights Cancer.

Richard Wolfson and Nancy Abramson Wolfson with their family

Founded in 2015, Philly Fights Cancer has raised over $40 million for research and clinical trials and Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center. Chairs for the gala: Nancy Abramson Wolfson and Melissa Dietz. Young Friends Co-Chairs: Stephanie Wolfson Cohen and Aaron Kaplowitz

Dennis St.Germain, Nancy Glass and Brian Balthazar
Drs. Dante Benincasa and Nicole Belamorich (I noted how similar their names were, sure enough they met in school when they were seated next ti each other)
Stephen and Karen Golden, Lauren and Jeremy Molish
Patrick Falkoff, Olivia Walsh, Stefanie Cohen, Moira DiSandro, Pete Schwartz

The event also recognized the outstanding work of Penn Medicine’s Sarcoma Program Team, honoring Dr. Kristy Weber who spoke about the center’s exciting progress.

Donnie Martelettiand Lynsie Feinberg
Scott Brown, Julie Green and Rory Zeidman
Sean Skolnick and C Banks
Jessy Kyle (Professional jazz/soul singer Jessy Kyle, a three-time Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. Jessy regularly sings the National Anthem at the Sixers game, and graced the stage at Philly Fights Cancer on this night as well) and Brendan Kelly

It’s wonderful to see such a gathering of supporters coming together to celebrate and pay tribute to Madlyn Abramson’s contributions and to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and treatment.

Around Town With HughE, Uncategorized

And Just Like That It’s McDonald’s Frozen Drink Time

As summer approaches, McDonald’s is celebrating the fresh “frozen” items for the upcoming hot days.

Two local McDonald’s held block parties last week to kick off the unofficial start of Summer!!

Danielle Dawkins, (here with her kids) the owner of a McDonald’s in FIshtown at 22 W Girard Ave, as well as 4 additional in the Philadelphia area.

Thursday, May 25 , in conjunction with Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Danielle hosted a Frozen Carbonated Beverage Block Party at their Fishtown location in Philadelphia. Customers received a free small Frozen Carbonated Beverage, choosing from the three iconic Frozen Carbonated Beverage flavors: Frozen Coca-
Cola®, Frozen Fanta Blue Raspberry® or Frozen Fanta Wild Cherry®
. During the event, there
guests spun a carnival type prize wheel to win McDonald swag, Frozen Carbonated Beverage giveaways, and tickets to the upcoming 50 Year Celebration of Hip Hop Concert being held in AC.

There was also live music by Power 99 and a saw some dancing going down in the parking lot as well.

About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by business men and women. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.

The Fishtown McDonald’s is open 24hr, and they have a walk up window. (If you’re a PCC follower on IG, you know I like my late night McDonald’s)

Three iconic Frozen Carbonated Beverage flavors:

 Frozen Coca-Cola® – The great taste of Coca-Cola® in a refreshing frozen drink
 Frozen Fanta® Blue Raspberry – The sweet, fruity raspberry flavor with a hint of
tartness for a super cool treat
 Frozen Fanta® Wild Cherry – The flavor of your favorite cherry candy in an ice-cold
frozen drink (my favorite, I mean I was born in July after all)


Friday I headed to Ocean City to join the celebration at Patrick Powers‘ owned McDonald’s at 900 West Avenue. A staple in the community for over 40 years. Patrick is the 3rd generation of McDonald’s franchises owner, he now has a 9 total including in the Camden County area. He’s also on the board of the Ronald McDonald House in SJ.

The party took place in the parking lot, with lots of people stopping by on their way to their summer homes.

The first 50 guests who stopped by the Chill Zone party received a free Ocean City beach pass for the
summer, and a bag for of swag.

Have you signed up for McDonald’s rewards program. Download the McDonald’s app and opt in to MyMcDonald’s Rewards to start earning points and redeeming them for free food.

The Powers Family was on hand to help out greeting customers, many of them old friends back for the summer.

Ocean City McDonald’s open every day 6:30am to 11PM

Sponsored Post, Uncategorized

Join the Culinary Excellence at Martorano’s Prime: Seeking Top-tier Cooks, Servers, and Assistant Servers with Fine Dining Expertise!

1001 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Martorano’s Prime at Rivers Casino Philadelphia is looking for the best of the best cooks, servers, assistant servers with fine dining experience. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Cooks with Fine Dining Experience can make up to $30/hr,
  • Servers $8/hr 
  • Assistant Servers $6. 

Servers earn base salary, plus tips.

Employment Opportunities at Rivers Casino — Martorano’s Monday

Martorano’s Prime, headed by celebrity chef and South Philly native Steve Martorano, will be opening at Rivers Casino Philadelphia this spring. Every Monday, job seekers have an exclusive opportunity to have a sneak peek and interview inside the soon-to-be-hottest new Italian-American steakhouse in Philly.

Applicants can complete the employment interest form at https://bit.ly/3TnxFnr and a recruiter will contact them immediately. Additionally, Rivers Casino continues to host walk-in interviews every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon for part- and full-time positions.

Visit the casino careers page at riverscasino.com/philadelphia/careers for more information regarding positions and benefits, which include medical and dental plans, a 401(k), paid time off, tuition reimbursement, and more.

Social Events

PAFA 122nd Annual Student Exhibition

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) capstone event, featuring work by third- and fourth-year undergraduate students and second-year graduate students is on display through June 4. This year, the ASE is on-view from Friday, May 12 through Sunday, June 4 in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building.

Earlier this month I attended the opening preview party. It’s always well attended, as students show off their works of art. Robert Cody, AlchemyChase and artist Gina Pilaitis

Sophronic Eckenrode and Cosina Kohl
Dorothy Mather IX, Board Trustee Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Clint Jukkala, Executive Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Carolyn Nowe
Artist James Oliver sold several of his works including this one, but he has a few more brilliant pieces left.
Abigail Viliaquiran and Victoria Silvestri
Delia and Bijan Khosrowshahi
Laura Dupont and Cosina Dupont
Drew Freil and Bruce Robinson
David Devan, Artistic Director of Opera Philadelphia, Taneise Marshall the owner and curator of The Collective and Opera Philadelphia Board Member and Rev. David Dubbeldam

Visit the galleries Thursday through Sunday and view and purchase art online anytime here

Around Town With HughE

Oprah Spotted, Janet Jackson Celebrates with Two Birthday Parties, Weddings

Iconic Janet Jackson celebrated her birthday again last night in Philly, this time at Brooklyn Bowl, it’s the 2nd party celebrating her milestone 57th birthday this week. Monday night I caught up with her as she entered a party at Broadhall, hosted by her friend Questlove. (snippet from video I shot)

Darnel’s Cakes co-owner Kyle Cuffie-Scott designed a two-tier strawberry shortcake for Janet Jackson’s 57th birthday party on Monday night. He’ll be on Fox29 on Thursday where Alex Holley & Mike Jerrick will taste Janet’s cake. The Inquirer has a festive quote from us both. You can now get a taste of Janet’s cake at his bakery at 444 N 4th Street. They also have delicious sandwiches and they cater.

At last night’s Janet Jackson party, long time Jackson concert DJ, DJ Aktive was on hand to spin at the party which was invite only, consisting of family, friends and concert crew.

Oprah, with longtime partner Stedman Graham, in attendance at the UPenn Law graduation ceremony Monday, May 15 at the Academy of Music. They were there to support a family member who was graduating with the class of 2023. A few audience members noticed her and waved, but no one bothered with them. So many great events coming up at the Kimmel Cultural Center this spring and summer.

Last night the new concept Great Stages Gala was held. I’ll be writing more about that later this week.

Congrats to Stefi Varghese, Campus Philly and Nicole Woods, Comcast on their surprise wedding last week in Rehoboth Beach, May 10 2023!! So happy for these two!! Also Stefi will be participating in the MS Ride to the Shore. 9/23/23 a worthy cause

Congratulations are in order for Barbara Eberlein and Jerry Wind on their wedding last Saturday. Photo by Jeweler John Wind. Is there any place prettier to get married than St. Marks, and take wedding photos in their blooming courtyard?

Kick off the Summer with @mannanourishes and @morganspier at Guac Off 2023 – Guac of Ages – on Thursday, May 25th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm! Enjoy unlimited guacamole crafted by 13 of Philly’s best restaurants, who will compete for the title of 2023 Guac Master! Enjoy river views, drinks and UNLIMITED GUAC, and cast your vote for the 2023 Guac Master! Tickets are on sale now at mannapa.org/Guacoff23.  All proceeds go towards MANNA. Must be 21+ to attend. 

Around Town With HughE, Uncategorized

Spotted: Meek Mill, Taylor Swift & a Bunch of Swifties including Blake Lively, Nicole Kidman

Taylor Swift flew into Philly with parents and new boyfriend Matt Healy, via private jet on Friday landing around 1 PM, headed straight to the stadium for Soundcheck and then stayed for the concert.

That evening my niece sent me this photo, told me she couldn’t get a last minute tickets, which even if she could she’d no way pay $1ks LOL. I was curious about the sound and asked her to send me a video. Now this scenarios is not unusual as I have often seen parents wait for their kids outside of stadiums, what was amazing is the sound quality. You could clearly hear Swift’s voice. The video went viral after I put it on IG, Twitter and FB.

The rest was history. Look at Saturday night. AMAZING!! The next sold out concerts at the Linc, Ed Sherran June 3, then Beyonce July 12

Friday, er early Saturday, Taylor checked into the Ritz Carlton around 2 AM. Thank you to my anonymous reader for sending this photo to me, after I told him she’d check in after the concert. He told me there were only 4 of them there, but Taylor didn’t acknowledge them. In 2015 she stayed there as well, and we had the same result.

S0 many celebrities came to watch Taylor perform in Philly. The first night Blake Lively and her kids were in the audience, Taylor gave them a shout out. Blake sans Ryan, hung out in a VIP tent with Swift’s new beau Matt Healy, The 1975. They’d be friends for a few years, and took it to the next level recently.

Saturday at her concert was Gigi Haddad , Lena Dunham, Antoine from queer eye. (Thanks to my anonymous reader who sent me this photo)

After the concert, Taylor received a police escort with a police motorcycle leading her car, to the Four seasons where she had dinner at Jean George’s I’m told.

They must’ve kept the restaurant opened for her as it stops serving food around midnight . I asked the restaurant for a comment, but they did not get back to me. Back in 2015, she had a similar police escort to Ralph’s Restaurant in South Philly. That evening she arrive

d at midnight as well and the restaurant stayed open for her as well.

She returned to the Ritz Carlton at about 2:30am in a silver SUV, with just one police car escorting her. There were 6 fans there, but she didn’t acknowledge them. The Swifties who took this photo, tell me she has had this silver SUV at her other tour stops as well. – Meek Mill dined across the street at DelFrisco’s Saturday night.

Sunday she checked out of the hotel around 2 PM and headed to the stadium.

Sunday afternoon. Real Housewife Sonya Morgan and her daughter Quincy had brunch at White Dog in University City. Former Gov Andrew Cuomo shopped at the cute home store 1600 Spruce Street.

The VIP guests Sunday night were Busy Philips, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman, and Keith Urban. After the show, she flew back to New York City via private chat. What a thrilling weekend. Plus fun to see so many people in town, for Penn’s graduation as well as for the concert. A great boast to our economy.

Thank you to my readers and tipsters. I have a lot of content and video on my Instagram as well.


Scene: RMHSNJ holds Wine, Women, and Shoes Fashion Show

Collingswood Ballroom

On May 5th Ronald McDonald House of Southern Jersey hosted Wine Women & Shoes FunRaiser. The night began with each guest receiving a glass of champagne as they arrive.

Jim Donovan, CBSPhilly and Jennifer French. CEO & President Ronald McDonald House Southern New Jersey

CBS3’s Jim Donovan emceed the fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House in South Jersey.

Kim Monteleone, and Joey Donati

There was a Market Place for guests to shop, silent auction and raffle prizes, stations of appetizers and passed hors d’oeuvre.

The concept of Wine Women & Shoes is the brainchild of Napa Valley vintner, Elaine Honig, concieved about 2 decades ago. While chatting with a girlfriend about the growing popularity of wine and food pairing events, they jokingly said, “wine and shoe pairings would be a lot more fun!” And they were right. WW&S events are now in 50 cities across the country, and they have raised more than $22,000,000 for women and children’s causes.

Wine Women & Shoes fundraisers create an opportunity for partnerships between charities, wineries, shoe and accessory retailers, corporate sponsors and women in the community. They are so much fun.

Patricia Hundley, Sweet Lorraine and Debbie Samuels
Jessica Bruno, Cynthia Schultz ,lauren Greer, Rosemary Harvey, and Maddie Cianci
Emily Lucking and Jessica Blatt
Dave Noonan, Maddie Cianci, and Monique Batipps
Paralee Knight,and Ashanti Wilson
Alayne Berkowitz, Pam Steele, Jodi Hassman, and Lynn Roseman

Thanks to Seagrass Boutique and Caroline’s Fashion Luxuries for dressing the models

Then there is the very popular “Key to the Closet”

They sold 100 – $100 keys to win what is in the closet. Each person that purchases a key will be given a blinky ring to wear through out the night. Guests try out their key to win fabulous prizes with values up to $5,000.

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the event, and raise critical funds for the Ronald McDonald House of South Jersey. Thanks to Andre Flewellen who photographed this event for PCC.