Photos: Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan Narrate Philadelphia Orchestra Performance of Candide

Thanks to the Philadelphia Orchestra for sending me these photos and copy. So bummed I can’t make any of the performances as I am already booked each night, but you can still see the show as it plays two more times, tonight and tomorrow night.

In a capstone to our Leonard Bernstein centenary celebration, we present his quirky, complex, irreverent, and very humorous operetta Candide, with orchestral staging. First performed in 1956, the work has come into its own in recent decades, thanks to Bernstein’s endless musical inventiveness and collaborators from Stephen Sondheim to Dorothy Parker (and of course, Voltaire, who wrote the original story, published in 1759).

(L-R) Alek Shrader (Candide), Timothy McDevitt (Maximilian), Carey Mulligan (Narrator), Bradley Cooper (Narrator)

Stage Director Kevin Newbury set the production in 1992, unfolding in a high-school classroom and inspired by films such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dazed and Confused. The characters are portrayed as the archetypes of early-1990s high-school life: Candide as the bookish nerd, Cunegonde as the ambitious head cheerleader, Paquette as the introverted goth, and Maximilian as the flamboyant drama club president. The story traces how these characters change from naïve teenagers to expectant graduates.

Curtis Bannister (Ensemble Member), Timothy McDevitt (Maximilian), Daniel Rowan (Baron), and Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Erin Morley (Cunegonde), and Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Erin Morley (Cunegonde), Yannick Nézet-Séguin(from left to right) Erin Morley (Cunegonde), Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Amanda Lynn Bottoms (Paquette), Brittany Bigelow (Ensemble Member), William Burden (Governor), Isabel Santiago (Baroness), Daniel Rowan (Baron)
(from left to right) Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Denyce Graves (The Old Lady), Ward Billeisen (Ensemble Member), Nicholas Cunningham (Ensemble Member), Alek Shrader (Candide), Erin Morley (Cunegonde), and Curtis Bannister (Ensemble Member)
(from left to right) Merdith Lustig (Ensemble Member), Brittany Bigelow (Ensemble Member), Benjamin Krumreig (Ensemble Member), Daniel Rowan (Baron), Kevin Vortmann (Dr. Pangloss), Amanda Lynn Bottoms (Paquette), Alek Shrader (Candide), Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Erin Morley (Cunegonde), Denyce Graves (The Old Lady), Timothy McDevitt (Maximilian), William Burden (Governor)

A few tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday night shows.

This blog entry is dedicated to my friend Scott Righter, who passed away earlier this week and we will be sending home tonight.


God Speed Scott Righter

One of my best friend of over 30 years passed away earlier this week. Scott Righter and I met in 1988 through friends, and we became fast friends after a few hiccups. Many of you will relate to this story, I must have met Scott a dozen times before I could remember his name (I still have that problem with people). The last time I forgot, he said if you don’t remember next time don’t bother saying hi. That was in 1988 and I’ve never forgotten it since. Scott was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Had a world of friends, and I was so lucky to be included in that world. He was political active serving for years as a committeeman in Roxborough, he was active in his community, and was recently was elected to VP of his neighborhood association. He had a beautiful garden, a comfortable house and an infectious laugh. He cared, about people, his community, and about his friends and family, and his dog Cooper, named after not Bradley Cooper, but Cooperstown as he was a big baseball fan, Phillies of course. I’ll miss everything about him, chitchatting about politics, shopping, going to the Philadelphia Gay Mens Chorus concerts, he was a huge fan and went to nearly every concert (often with my husband Mike as I was usually working Saturday nights), and worse of all thinking he’s just as close as a phone call away. God speed my good friend, not a day will go by that you won’t be in my thoughts and prayers. Obituary


Dîner en Blanc Wants You

Many of us are counting down the days til the 8th annual Dîner en Blanc, which rolls around every August.

Last week the folks at Dîner en Blanc held their annual sponsor party at the Bourse Food Hall in Old City. Unlike the main event in August, the preview party is open to all without registration. It’s a great way to be introduced to all that is fun and stylish of the summer white party, although I did meet a lot of people who have already been to one, to all of the parties.

The highlight of the evening were the 9 tables on display and decorated by Dîner en Blanc table captains. The table decorating contest theme was “Philadelphia’s Festivals and Outdoor Celebrations.” A panel of judges chose the best decorated table, and guests at the party chose the “People’s Choice.”

Judge’s Choice: Bastille Day at Eastern State  by Danielle Milbourne  This table was fabulous- complete with Tastykake Krimpets (a nod to the tradition of throwing them during the event)  and  Marie Antoinette’s head rotating on a cake stand!  It was fantastic!!
East Passyunk Car Show which is coming up July 28
The Diner en Blanc after party will be at the Sofitel Hotel this year.

Miguel Martinez-Valle, Emmanuel Capó, Syrmarie Villalobos and Alondra Anaya– Comcast/NBC10/Telemundo team.

  • Event date is Thursday, Aug 22nd (4th Thursday instead of the usually 3rd Thursday)
  • Number of Guests – 6,000 making us the largest Diner en Blanc in United States. REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW, they’re accepting 500 new guests this year.
  • At the event they gave away 8 free registrations for this year’s event through drawings that encouraged participants to purchase from the Bourse Food Hall vendors and raffle ticket purchases that benefited Broad Street Ministry raising $1,000 for Broad Street Ministry through the raffle.  This is the second year in a row we are supporting Broad Street Ministry through raffles and auctions that will continue through registration and the actual event.  
    At the the May Franklin Square Gala, two seats for Diner en Blanc were auctioned off and received over $5,000, with funds going towards the mission of Franklin Square Gala.
  • A DEB team also volunteered earlier this month at Broad Street Ministry for their Breaking Bread lunch service.
Natanya Dibona, co hostess for Diner en Blanc (with Kayli Moran ) and Hadas Kuznits, KYW1060

CCP Black & Gold Gala at Vie

On June 12, 2019, Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) will host its annual Black & Gold Gala to recognize the outstanding service of local individuals and organizations that demonstrate involvement in community growth in the areas of education, business, social services and health.

The cocktail party took place in the beautiful courtyard adjacent to Vie

The gala took place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Vie, located on 600 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pa. Event proceeds benefit the 50th Anniversary Promise Scholarship, which has provided more than 700 high school graduates across the city with the opportunity to pursue an associate degree at CCP at no cost for tuition and fees.

Joann Gonzalez-Generals and Community College of Philadelphia President and CEO, Dr. Donald Guy Generals pose together during the VIP Reception.

Raytheon Company former Chief Diversity Officer Hayward Bell received the Alumni Achievement Award for being an industry leader and innovator in the practice of diversity and inclusion at the corporate level. Here he is with his family.

Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) President and CEO Julie Coker Graham, Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins and Mayor James F. Kenney pose together during the VIP Reception.

Following VIP Reception, Community College of Philadelphia’s Black & Gold Gala attendees begin transitioning into the main ballroom for dinner.
6abc News Anchor Rick Williams makes opening remarks to kick off the Black & Gold Gala.

Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, safety and team captain, co-founder of the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation and the Players Coalition, will receive the Community Hero Award for his service to the community to advance issues such as education and economic advancement in low income communities, criminal justice reform, police community relations, and for his service to Community College of Philadelphia as a member of the College’s Foundation Board.

VEP Experience performs in the Vie ballroom in front of more than 500 attendees at Community College of Philadelphia’s Black & Gold Gala. (Photos and copy provided by “Community College of Philadelphia.”)


The Hole At Broad & Spruce Will Soon Look Like This

KPF Graphic

In a ceremony at the Kimmel Center Tuesday, Carl Dranoff revealed what he called “the crowning achievement of my career,” a 47-story, 528-foot condo tower called Arthaus at Broad and Spruce streets along the famed Avenue of the Arts and at the former spot where for years the Philadelphia International Record stood until a fire destroyed the building nearly a decade ago.

Designed by firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the 47-story condominium tower will have 108 condominiums priced from $2M to $10M, all of which will have floor-to-ceiling windows with at least one corner for panoramic views.

KPF Graphic

Arthaus is purposely set back from the corner, Carl told me, so the residents will have unobstructed views on all floors. According to the design company KPF, “With a design inspired by its context, the massing of the Arthaus tower is modulated into four rectangular volumes. Each of these bundled rectangles rises to a different height, creating a distinctive tower top. The stepped, interlocking boxes also provide large outdoor terraces. The tower wall of Arthaus features a vertical expression balanced by horizontal terraces at each corner, which offer sweeping views of Philadelphia from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River.

At the base of Arthaus, brick and terra cotta feature walls along Broad and Spruce Streets relate to the material language of the neighborhood, while the tower’s high-performing glass facade is detailed with white aluminum mullions that add texture and variety. ” (KFC) – I also love how the drop off driveway leading to the front door is internal, and not just a curb cut out.

The balconies at Arthaus are 16 x 8 feet and are contained within the footprint of the building, so it won’t be as windy Carl Dranoff told me.
The building’s outdoor spaces will feature a year-round rooftop greenhouse, individual planting beds, a reflecting pool, lawn, and sun deck. Additional amenities include a 75-foot indoor lap pool and state-of-the-art fitness center overlooking the Kimmel Center, a tranquil library, board room, club room, dining salon, café with demonstration kitchen and kids’ playroom.
This is the graphic depicting the greenhouse and reflecting pool.
Council members Allan Domb, Mark Squilla, Mayor Jim Kenney, former governor of Pennsylvania, Edward G. Rendell KPF Founder and Chairman Eugene Kohn and Carl Dranoff, Dranoff Properties were on hand for the groundbreaking.
Which took place on the site, after the press conference with officials at the Kimmel Center.
The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell (who along with former Gov. Ed Rendell, were instrumental in creating and organizing the Avenue of the Arts, Linda Knox, Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty, and Melanie Stecura, Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty.
Dianne L. Semingson, Board Chair of the Avenue of the Arts and Diane Bryant.

I can’t wait to see Arthaus complete in a couple years, and to have more life on South Broad Street. Check out additional photos of who was there on CBSPhilly and PhillyStyle Magazine


Why Was Harry Styles in Philly; New Trader Joes; Movie News & Celebs Spotted

Why Was Harry Styles in Philly; New Trader Joes; Movie News & Celebs Spotted in Philly

Hope you all had a great weekend. You’re probably wondering why am I writing my Philly Gossip column on Monday, well I didn’t want everyone showing up a funeral to find Harry Styles on Sunday. Yes, the Harry Styles was in the Philly area over the weekend.

Harry took a Selfie with the American Airline pilot who flew piloted him to PHL yesterday afternoon. He’s actually been seen in the area over the past few months visiting with his friend Xander Ritz, who lives in nearby Wayne, Pa. I first wrote about the duo back in 2015 when they first met and started to hang out together.

This time Harry Styles came to give his friend Xander Ritz support as Xander’s mom Cynthia Ritz passed away last week. Here the duo were snapped eating out last night. Xander’s parents are philanthropic, dad is a popular dentist on the Mainline, while mom, Cindy Ritz, was a longtime steward and volunteer in Radnor, Donations can be made to the Wayne Art Center in her name online here.

I heard a rumor, that the rumored 2nd Trader Joe’s in Center City was well underway on the on the ground floor of the parking garage located across the street from the Convention Center, so I stopped by over the weekend to see for myself. The 1324 Arch St. property is compact at 15,750 of retail space, which is slightly more I learned than the average size of a Trader Joe’s property of 15,000 sq ft including the backroom, storage area and worker’s break room, says Supermarket News. The original rumor was written about by Jacob Adelman, Inquirer back in January. There’s still no official word from the company.

Emmett Smith stopped by Del Frisco’s for dinner last week with a few friends. The Twins Dana and Jen Fioravanti, maîtres d’ at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse posed with their good friend. Also dining out last week was Jeb Bush at Louie, Louie in University City. He was spotted twice last week at lunch. For the past year he has been teaching at University of Pennsylvania as Presidential Professor of Practice role at Penn

PhillyWood is Hot and Happening
Actors James Maslow ( who is best known for his role on Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush (based on his real-life boy band), and co-hosting CW’s new talent show The Big Stage with Elizabeth Stanton, which started last week. ) and Emily Bett Rickards ( seven seasons as Felicity Smoak on CW’s smash hit Arrow) will be starring in the indie film “We Need To Talk”. The film, written and directed by Todd Wolfe, also features Jonathan Fernandez. The film started at the beginning of June and is slated to finish at the end of June. Next up is the Sally Field, AMC TV Series “Dispatches from Elsewhere” is slated to start filming right after July 4th, and run through November with actor Jason Segel directing (last week Jason, who’s been eating up a storm in Philly, was spotted watching the Philly Pride Parade.) Then if that wasn’t enough Kate Winslet, is about to start filming an HBO series Mare of Easttown starting this fall. A detective in a small Pennsylvania town investigates a local murder while trying to keep her life from falling apart. Easttown is near Devon, Pa about 20 miles from Center City. See ya tomorrow!!


Did We Shoot You This Week

Sorry for the sporadic posts this week, I had a couple family emergencies and they occupied a lot of my time. Everyone is OK now. Thanks to my editors and photographers who picked up my slack this week. Let’s see where your photo landed this week. If you don’t spot it it could still appear in Philly Mag.

Thanks to PhillyChitChat’s Talya Hailey for shooting Career Wardrobe’s Hope’s Night Out at Moore College of Art on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Check out her photos at Philly Style Magazine.
I photographed the Summer of Voices Gala by the Voice Foundation, which is located right here in Philadelphia. CBSPhilly
Andre Flewellen photographed Theatre Exile’s new home in South Philly, where the Avalon and Ferko String Band members performed.
I photographed DeSean’s Jackson’s “Welcome Home” party at Stratus Lounge. Philly Voice Philly Style and CBS Philly. There’s still more to write and I’ll have additional shots on PCC this week, and a column in Philly Mag with an unpublished photos including of two surprise guests in September’s issue ie meaning they’re not mentioned anywhere else, and since I was the only “media” photographer this secret could probably keep.)
Amber Hikes, Amy Needle, Miguel Martinez-Valle, Steven Humes, Vanyah Harrigan, and Julia Morales – Diner en Blanc Preview Party. I still have photos to be published on ChitChat this week. But here are some from Philly Voice and CBS Philly
Drexel Square Park – CBSPhilly , Philly Style Magazine

Thanks and have a great day. See you this week as I photograph Wizard World, today, then at the end of the week the Rittenhouse Ball ie The Ball on the Square, which is the unofficial end of the Spring Social Season, and the beginning of my staycation. I do have another week of great events, and am available for booking in July, August and I am starting to book up in the Fall. Stay in touch every hour of the day as I tweet life and Instagram it.


Sofitel’s Drag Queen Tea Attic Fundraiser Plus A Month of Pride Events

Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square, part of AccorHotels, will celebrate June as Gay Pride Month with a series of new events and initiatives, including turning the hotel lobby into the Pride Month “LGBTQ Hall of Flags.” For the first time ever, Sofitel will fly a giant Philadelphia Pride Flag on the outside of the hotel. Inside, look for the flag to be joined by six individual LGBTQ flags flying high above the lobby to celebrate the diversity of the hotel’s community.

Sofitel Philadelphia kicks off Pride Month during Philadelphia’s Gay Pride Weekend. On Saturday, June 8th, and again on Saturday, June 15th, 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. Last weeks event was a sold out spectacular, hilarious time. You’ll want to go this weekend.

Tickets are $40 per person – and add $10 for bottomless Champagne, Mimosas or Bloody Marys. Five dollars from each purchase will be donated to the Attic Center for LGBTQ Youth. Tickets are available at:

On Friday, June 21, 2019, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, head outside for Sofitel Philadelphia’s annual Fête de La Musique celebration featuring a mini-block party under the porte with music, entertainment, drag performances, complimentary lite bites and cocktail samples. The Fête de la Musique began in Paris in 1982, and was founded by the popular French cultural minister Jack Lang. The festival originated in a humble burst of musical idealism and a few power connections, and yet, in only two decades has become a wildly popular global event. (Info from press release)

Sofitel will conclude Pride Month in Philadelphia with the opening art reception for French Kiss by Janice Telstar on Thursday, June 27th, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The Reading, PA artist will debut her photographs in the lobby for a summer exhibition. Guests will enjoy complimentary bites and cocktail samples from Sofitel’s new summer menu.

Attic Youth Donations: During the entire month of June, and through the rest of 2019, Sofitel Philadelphia will donate one dollar per each banquet menu item designated with the Attic’s logo on the menu. Sofitel Philadelphia will also donate one dollar from every Liberté cocktail sold in the Liberté Lounge to Attic during Pride Month. All funds will support programs for local LGBTQ youth. The Liberté Cocktail is available in Liberté Lounge and features pear infused Vodka, lemon, St. Germain and Sparkling Wine.


Philly Pride Style

Happy Gay Pride Philly

As someone who’s attended nearly 30 years of Philly Gay Pride Parades, this year was the best year. I remember in the beginning the parade consisted of gathering in Washington Square Park, to walking around City Hall to nearly what it is today which is a grand parade starting in the Gayborhood, walking past Independence Hall and a festival to cap the day off.

Sunday felt different, it felt like what we had, what our the gay brothers and sisters fought for all these years. A community that comes together to celebrate our visibility, our diversity, the thread of connection which empowers us to be brave, be out and make a difference.
Thank you to Frannie Price and her team bringing us together for the 31st time, in the historic 50th year since the riots of Stonewall.

I’m not gonna let anyone tell me any different!!
Thank you allies for helping us with our visibiliy

It’s very simple why we have parades, festivals, and why we shout it from the rooftops. Being invisible allows other people, society to define you. Being visible we define ourselves, and what is best for our community, working towards that living, breathing goal.


The Piazza Pod Park Opens

Last night I attended a most unusual beer garden type of outdoor space, a wonderland of food and beer I would call it. Definitely not like any you’ve experienced before, it’s in Northern Liberties in the former space where we all used to park for free across from the Piazza. The official opening of the Piazza Pod Park as the grand opening weekend will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 10AM (POD PARK WEBSITE)

Now it’s a fun spot where you’ll want to spend a lazy afternoon or a starry night with friends. There is still free parking with validation of your Pod Park visit. The parking lot is at the corner of 2nd and Germantown Ave, on Germantown avenue.

Piazza Pod Park will be far be the largest dining destination and beer garden-style space in the city to open this spring – with 35,000 square feet of outdoor space that is uniquely Northern Liberties, featuring dining, art, civic space, kids and fitness components, as well as regular entertainment and events.

Laura Powers and Krystal Souvanlasy
Sam Bartow and Emily Tharp loved the Empanado’s, Margaurita’s and all the BeBop which is a great Selfie Station.
Peter Mason, Quantum Consulting LLC and Pretty in Pink instagramer Cate Cole
Mama’s Water Ice – Small $3, Large $4 and Quart $7
Add $.50 for Mama’s flavors
Buy 2 Quarts, Get 1 free
Ziggy Loike and Sam Cohen are working on Tomato’s Bar at 11th and Walnut Streets. Look for an end of summer opening.
The dining hall has tables inside and on the roof of the container

There’s a walkway that connects the Pod Park to Girard Avenue, at night it’s a colorful connector and a great Selfie station.

Check out the Piazza Pod Park, the Post Brothers’ new mixed-use outdoor space and beer garden at 1075 Germantown Avenue. Check out the food menu of Pod Park at Philly Mag