Brian Sims


Photos: Tara Lessard and Friends Gather in the Intention Circle to Say F*CK Cancer

What a great day on Sunday when friends and family gathered to support and share love with Tara Lessard, who is winning the battle against Ovarian Cancer, which she was diagnosed with in the fall. You may know Tara as the talented photographer who photographs many of the events in the Philly GLBTQ community with her company Freedom G Philly, and has also photographed for this blog as well.

Over 100 people gathered in the William Way Ballroom the first sunny Sunday afternoon in the new year, harnessing their energies and focusing them on Tara Lessard (l-r Patrick Hagerty, and Tara’s parents and friend) in a room where the chairs were placed in a circle.

Spotted sharing their energies in the “intention circle” were Sen Brian Sims and Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way Center .

The idea of a community “Healthy Day” came from her friend, Diane Matkowski (c), who owns Freedom Massage. She wanted Tara’s friends to come and share their good energy with Tara, give her lots of hugs, and raise much needed funds for her day to day care. The Freedom Massage team including Sara and Jessica, taught the basics of massage, as well as donated free 10 minute chair massages.

 There was an impressive silent auction with items, gift cards and services, which also raised funds.

 Deja Lynn Alvarez, a transgender advocate with GALAEI and Mazzoni Center and filmmaker Kelly Burkhardt.

 There was a lot of love and support in the room


You can help Tara Lessard fight her battle with Ovarian Cancer.

Sara Kelly, Fran Cortez, Amy Perez, Kelly Burkhardt and Sammie Munsch

 Philly’s hottest drag king performed – JIMMYTWOFINGAS!
 All the tips that were thrown in the middle of the floor were donated to Tara’s fund.
Yogi Marcy Mackay has traveled around the world three times in a “bikini” with The BEACH BOYS. In her travels she has studied with some of the best
yoga instructors in the world. She chatted about  her experience
with Yoga and how it has changed her life and sense of well-being with the intention circle.
Yogi Dawn Smelser Director of Motherheart Studio in Fishtown was also on hand; she discussed her breath/meditation exercises. She has studied in India and is
a huge ICON in the wellness community. 

I had to leave to shoot another event, but I found this photo that Diane Matkowski‎ took with Tara Lessard and her friends who attended the event.

You can help Tara Lessard fight her battle with Ovarian Cancer.

Noontime Nuggets: Tidbits, Celeb Sightings, Wedding, A baby, Charles Barkley, Brian Sims, Lea Delaria & Burt Renolds Naked

Another in a series of interesting news and tidbits from around town. OMG the search for a title for this column has changed names as many times as Murphy Brown’s secretary. Now that ages me I think. Anyway it looks like WMGK has retired using this title, and it doesn’t seem trademarked as I looked it up. What are your thoughts on it? Leave me a note on FB or Twitter cause I decided not to accept comments anymore. Nobody could figure out the sign up process and I really need to moderate the comments so I just disabled it. OK here are some Noontime Nuggets.

Amazing to see how Kyle’s dream of chatting about sports “around the water color” has blown up into a credible sports/news outlet ie crossingbroad.com . Secret to his success, he stayed independent. It gives you so much more leeway in conversation. I remember when he started, he was still employed, like I was, and today he supports his passion via his blog and all that goes along with that brand. A year ago he got married, and now he’s gonna be a dad. Congrats to Kyle and Dana (who I’ve met a couple times.)
Sharks in the water, foxes in the cemetery. Laurel Hill Cemetery over in Fairmount Park. It’s so cute.
Oh foxes, Patrick and that guy are enjoying themselves on Fire Island. 
 Hmm bacon wrapped corn. I like it. How long til Kory gets one of his restaurants to serve this on the menu?
Rep Brian Sims taking a much needed vacation in P-Town, runs into Lea DeLaria, from #OITNB currently on break from filming the 4th season of the very popular Netflik series.
Congrats to John Giordano who finished a bike race this past weekend and celebrated with a Whopper and an epic photo.

Raya had an awesome time at #ThunderDownUnder this past weekend at Valley Forge Casino Music Fair, then headed for the afterparty at Valley Beach and ran into another hunk named Charles Barkley
Congrat’s to Karen Giberson and her hubby Nicholas DiPietro on their successful Spartan Race this past weekend. Karen placed 10th in her age range. You might not recognize her name, but she is one of the people who influences what accessories are hot or not, in the USA.
 Lives locally, but commutes to Manhattan as the President of Accessories Council, #NowYouKnow

Congratulations Tony and Michael on 31 years together 7/20/15
The beast at the beach, looks like he’s dating
Congrats to my friend Carolyn Curran Slota’s who’s little girl got married a few weeks ago.
There’s Carolyn, hey girl!!
Soon you’re gonna have a couple of these calling you grandma. Congrats to Molly and Ryan!!
Kristen Herrmann, mid day DJ at BenFM, program director and a whole lotta fun. Wait we could get pictures with them? #ThunderDownUnder at Valley Forge Casino Music Fair
 43 years ago the nude Cosmopolitan centerfold of actor Burt Reynolds broke a taboo and launched a new era of women’s magazine publishing. It also launched Playgirl and Burt Reynold’s career after the issue sold so well.
The gift that keeps giving, more photos from the ESPN Body edition that Todd Herremans’ wife Elizabeth is sharing on social.

Which reminds me, this is happening August 4. Google it and go get tickets.
Have a great day!!


Kacie McDonnell , Marisa Magnatta, Laura Burkhardt, Brian Sims and Maria Papadakis: Cheer for Prohibition

In the “spirit” of the National Constitution Center’s world-premiere exhibition,
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Philadelphia’s top
bartenders will compete to create the “Best ’20s-inspired cocktail” using Blue Coat Gin,
hand crafted by Philadelphia Distilling, as their primary ingredient.

Their creations were judged by popular Philadelphia personalities including
Laura Burkhardt, WHERE Magazine Publisher; Marisa Magnatta, Associate Producer of WMMR’s Preston and Steve Morning Show;
Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative. Maria Papadakis, Emmy award-winning media personality
and host of “Out and About” on Philly.com; and   FOX 29 traffic reporter
Kacie McDonnell serves as emcee. 

 Maria Farricielli, Fox 29’s Business Development Account Manager. and Margaret Cronan, Chief Communications Officer at National Constitution Center
About American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition – Now
through April 28, 2013, the era of flappers and suffragists,
bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends like Al
Capone and Carry Nation vividly
come to life in the National Constitution Center’s world-premiere exhibition
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
(I saw it, it was fascinating.)
Mixologist Nate Churchill, XIX restaurant and bar, tells me he created his prohibition drink in about a minute.
He’s a big fan of Bluecoat and knew which ingredients would work well with the gin, lemon juice, fresh OJ, dashes bitters, and honey. He then poured it in a mason jar, as this was the prohibition era and that was what people might drink cocktails in back them.

 Then there was Stephen Diaz’s “The Red Fizz Charleston”, made with 2oz Bluecoat, 1oz Germain, his own reciepe of fresh raspberry syrup topped off with a dry Brut champagnes and a twist of lemon and fresh raspberries on a skewer.

 A recent addition to Palomar Hotel’s Square 1682, Chaucey Scates’ created the popular “Powder Room Punch” with gin, cointreau, jasmine tea, lemon grenadine, peychaunds bitters and angostura bitters.

 Finally house bartender, Bess Gulliver created “The Jazz Baby”, gin, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth with Pierre Reeand and Dry Orange Curacao, Averna Amaro garnished with a flamed orange peel.

 South Philly Fashionista blogger Michelle Boyles, Julie Shannon, Editorial Events Coordinator for Metro US, Delsea football beat writer, foodie, fitness guru and Philly sports and Anna Aagenes, Greater Philadelphia Area – District Office Director, Office of Representative Brian Sims

Lisa Bass, Bourse Building (Who tells me she loves the Blue Coat as it’s not real ginny) and Lisa Breen

 It was good to catch up with Karen Gross, a former Where Magazine editor that works at the Constitution Center, but is also pursuing a cabaret singing career divides her time between Philly and Manhattan in pursuit of that goal, with Laura Burkhart, Where Magazine publisher.

 Rudy Fleisher, Here’s My Chance (PS I didn’t notice his flawless finger nails til late, I would have asked him if he were a typist?)

Michelle Boyles and Brett Copol both of Metro Philly Newspaper

Alison Young, Vice President of External Affairs at the National Constitution Center and Brian Sims, Pennsylvania State Representative.

Laurel Fairworth,  President at Cachet Communications and Kathy Zapp, Of Montgomery Media

 Kacie McDonnell, Fox 29 Traffic and Maria Papadakis, Philly.com plus has become a regular contributor to Fox 29 Good Day Philly. Prizes were awarded in two categories—Judge Favorite and Guest Favorite.  

The Guest Favorite will win an annual membership to the National Constitution
Center. And the winner is The Ritz Carlton Fizz!!

 Happy February Birthday to Matt Vlahos, Vlahos PR (2/28), Sarah Cooper Bobersky (2/8) and Big Rube Harley (2/23)

 Adam Judeh, GM XIX restaurant, winning bartender Nate Churchill thanking the organizers, Maria Papadakis, Marisa Magnatt and Brian Sims. Adam Judeh tells me that Orange Blossom will now be served at the XIX bar. (The Judge’s Favorite will receive
an annual membership to the National Constitution Center; a one night’s stay at the Hotel Monaco; a
With Love gift bag, courtesy of VisitPhilly.com and the Greater
Philadelphia Marketing and Tourism Corporation; and a feature on the
National Constitution Center’s website.)

Sunset from the Stratus Lounge. Can’t wait until summer, this place is going to be kickin it

 Then Laura and I headed to Red Owl Tavern for a bite to eat. OMG the Chicken Pot Pie keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend it, as I do the

The curry mussels.

Brian Sims, Politician, Bartender, Victory Fund Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims

Earlier this month I attended a Victory Fund Fundraiser for Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 182nd district, Brian Sims at his headquarters on Broad Street.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is an American political action
committee dedicated to increasing the number of openly LGBT public
officials in US political life. Victory Fund endorses LGBT candidates for local, state and federal
office across the nation. In order to qualify for the endorsement,
candidates must demonstrate “community support and a realistic plan to
win,” and back LGBT civil-rights efforts, as well as privacy and
reproductive-freedom issues.

Brian spoke to the 50+ strong crowd and said how important it was to have a GLBT person at the table when policy was being created. As the saying goes it’s imperative that you be part of the discussion instead of being discussed. L-R Harvey L Hurdle, (Here’s an interesting NY Times article where Harvey is featured, about the diff in money if gay couples could marry.) Sherrie Cohen, Chris Dietz, Brian Sims and Angela Giampolo, Giampolo Law Group

Victory Fund Board Member  Susan Atkins, VF Campaign Board Member Angela Giampolo, Victory Fund Board members Harvey Hurdle,

Duane Perry, James Duggan, QueerTimes and Arthur Kaplan and Paul Steinke , General Manager of the Reading Terminal Marketsince 2001. So imagine all those great changes to the RTM happened under his guidance. Just sayin’

Councilman James Kenny, Autumn Bayles, an Aramark vice president and head of the Forum of Executive Women and Michael P Williams, Sr Attorney City Law Department.
Sims encouraged the attendees to support Chris Dietz, an
openly gay man who’s also running for the legislature in Central PA, 
For a much more comprehensive report on the

TONIGHT: Please join Brian Sims – nominee from the 182nd district and soon to be the first openly gay person elected to the General Assembly – tomorrow for Happy Hour at R2L where he will be guest bartending for his favorite charity, Equality Pennsylvania! R2L
Two Liberty 50 S. 16th Street, 37th Floor – Ask to see Table 94, The Barbra Streisand Table, now the Harrison Ford Table too.6PM

Join celebrity bartenders Philadelphia City Councilman At Large Jim Kenney, Philadelphia Business Journal publisher Lyn Kremer and IBA President Evan Urbania – A portion of the bar proceeds from this event will be donated to the IBA/Sapphire Fund Scholarship Program. 8/29/12 6PM