Q&As and Gay Cakes

I was very lucky to spend some time with the fabulous, firey Dr. Anne Koch this month to talk about healthcare, old-school gay Philly and her upcoming book “Transitioning at a Mature Age.” Read our conversation at Philadelphia Gay News.

I also enjoyed attending an interfaith debate at the National Consitution Center center focused on the state of religious freedom in the United States. The three panelists discussed not only the current state of religion in America but a fascinating historical examination of the legal cases that defined the limits of religious expression over the last 200 years, up to and including Obergefell and the still-pending ‘gay cake’ case.

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Parenting and Secret Menus: March Updates

Back in the wild, early days of game programming, designers slipped secret levels, in-jokes and Easter eggs into their games without knowing if anyone would ever appreciate their effort. The controversial classic Mortal Kombat is particularly infamous for secret characters and hidden endings. But those games have been around over 20 years and it seemed like every secret had been found.

I had great time writing about the recently discovered secret menu in Mortal Kombat for VideoGameDJ.com.
You can read the whole story right here. Keep an eye on the website, I published news and info about gaming, music and the Philly geek scene every week.
I also published a story in the March issue of MetroKids. In it, we hope to help parents talk to their kids about gender transition and LGBT families in a way that’s emotionally honest and factually correct. I was very happy to write this story and it meant a lot to me personally. You can read the story online right here or in the current printed issue of MetroKids, out now.  

As always, I’m begrudgingly active on Twitter at @bethanneboyle and I post pictures of cats and baked goods on Instagram @befbee.  

New Year, New Stuff!

January was a busy month for me and I’m so happy I can finally start sharing everything I’ve been working on! First of all, I’m writing regularly for VideoGameDJ.com with one of my favorite humans ever, Elly Rox of PhillyGeekGirl. It’s so much fun to write about some of the stuff I like the most: games, music and geek life. Check out our coverage of this year’s Music and Gaming Fest, including my interview with drummer/game designer Rekcahdam and video game cover band Eight Bit Disaster. Keep an eye on that space. Lots of exciting stories coming up.

Second, I’m thrilled to share my first (but not last) story for The Spirit of Penn’s Garden, about the soon-to-open Le Cat Cafe. Matt and Max of The Spirit are doing something really ambitious and important with The Spirit News and I hope you’ll support local Philadelphia journalism however you can.

I’ve got plenty more happening in the next couple months, but if there’s anything going on in gaming, Philly or anywhere else you think I should cover, please drop me a line at bethanneboyle AT gmail DOT com. I love seeing a mailbox full of tips and ideas in the morning.     

LGBTA Culture Celebrated At Zine Fest

I’m so happy that I got to write about Philly Zine Fest for the Philadelphia Gay News. PZF has been the highlight of my summer (or depending on the Rotunda’s schedule) for the last ten years and it’s such a thrill to share what I love about this day with readers. It was also a treat to interview so many writers I love, including Elvis, who puts so much humor and life in queer herstory though their zine, Homos in Herstory and local author Kate Haegele whose novel White Elephants you should endeavor to purchase asap.

“When I came to Zine Fest for the first time, in 2003, afterwards I felt like, ‘Why can’t the whole world be like Zine Fest?’” said long-time exhibitor Kate Haegele of the linguistics zine “The La-La Theory” and her memoir “White Elephants.”

“The zine community isn’t passive, they’re doers. Everyone is so supportive because they know doing this isn’t easy,” she added. “Finding zine people meant finding my people.”

Read the rest here, at epgn.com.

5 People You Meet at GameLoop Philly

As a life-long geek, it was great to get behind the scenes at Philly’s second annual GameLoop unconference andmeet the people who make up Philly’s vibrate, exciting indy gaming scene. Keep an eye out for next year’s Game Loop here, and check out Philly Dev Night on Thursdays at Cipher Prime Studios

If you don’t know how the unconference model works, here’s the quick version using this weekend’s third-ever Game Loop Philly as a primer. Smart people interested in a given topic, like video game development, show up in the morning to drink coffee, eat pastries and create a day-long collection of cutting edge industry discussions. Then they attend them to learn and share with each other. Easy.

First held in 2011 and then again last year, and using the brand name of a similar Boston event series, Game Loop had some 60 people in the morning to suggest topics and build out the day’s event.

Like the far larger and wider ranging Barcamp Philly, which follows a global trend of open format thought-leadership events, Game Loop is meant to be designed by its attendees, said Nicole Kline, who has organized the event with Ray Merkler since its 2011 launch.

Read the rest of the story here.

I conducted this interview with Ms. Millett last year. It stands out as one of my favorite interviews I’ve done yet. In the 3+ hour conversation, Caroline’s stories of chic, glamorous international intrigue captured my imagination. Ms. Millett can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook

I had the pleasure of interviewing Philadelphia designer Caroline Dunlop-Millett this week. Born in Kansas City and raised near Chicago, she’s been a U.S. diplomat, studied design under Louis Kahn, and helped transform West Philadelphia into University City. She is currently the head of Millett Design and has written two books.

BB: So you grew up near Chicago. Tell me how you ended up in Brazil as a U.S. Diplomat in the 60’s.

CDM: Well, I really wanted to go to law school. I was going to be a trial lawyer who defended the poor and downtrodden. I really believed that! But that isn’t what lawyers do, I know that now. So went to Stanford, where there were only four women in my class. Within two weeks, I knew it wasn’t the place for me, and I was very unhappy. I no longer had a life path. Some women, their path is to get married and have babies, but I certainly wasn’t giving over to that.  Continue reading

Everyone Organized Against Rape

Everyone Organized Against Rape

Beth Boyle

The offices of Women Organized Against Rape are quiet. Polite signage around the waiting room requests that doors be shut with care and cell phones should not be used. The staff speaks in soft, polite tones and there are white noise machines to keep conversation during counseling sessions from being overheard. WOAR offers private and group counseling to adults (male and female), teens, LGBTQ and child survivors of sexual assault and abuse, so the need for privacy and a feeling of safety is of utmost importance.

“You know you’re my fourth interview today? It’s not even noon!” WOAR’s Executive Director Carole Johnson smiles as she says it. The phone ringing, her stacked schedule and the media attention all means that WOAR is doing what it’s supposed to do: provide as much support as possible to sexual assault survivors every step of their way. WOAR’S services include: court and medical accompaniment, counseling and support for survivors and their loved ones, and education and outreach to campuses, workplaces and community groups and awareness-raising events.

Carole Johnson at work

Carole Johnson working on her next proposal (photo credit: Beth Boyle)

 

Their next big event is the 9th annual Take It All Back walk on April 26th. April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One of the pivotal organizers of the event and WOAR counselor Alea Cummings said, “The name is a reference to the Take Back the Night. We wanted to do something like that, but Take It All Back is intended to be more inclusive, and to break down the myth that sexual assaults only happen at night. This event is for everyone. We didn’t want anyone to think, ‘It didn’t happen to me at night, I must not count.’”

Whereas most days at WOAR are quiet, Take It All Back is about making noise. “Our event is survivor-centric. We sing, we chant, we carry signs, there’s a drumline. When we get to the Independence Visitor’s Center, there’s a SPEAK OUT where survivors tell their stories, read poems, just open up. We’ll also have food and this year we’will have Zumba breaks. It can get pretty intense and we want to encourage healthy coping.”

Women Organized Against Rape was founded in 1971 as one of the first rape crisis centers in the U.S. After taking early retirement from her position as HR Director at AT&T, Carole came to WOAR, first as a volunteer, then gradually moved up to Executive Assistant in 1990. Alea came to WOAR as a graduate intern 2011 to May of 2013 and then returned as a counselor in June of 2013. Continue reading

Philly Graffiti Style 2014

Since the 70’s, graffiti (defined as any scribbling, writing or drawing done illicitly on a public space) has covered every spare space in cities. In 2002 the Department of Justice reported that the U.S. spends $12 billion on cleaning up graffiti every year. I talked to writers past and present (that’s why MD hid his face and requested I not use his real name) about why they risk jail time, fights and physical harm to write their name.

Alleged Union T.H.U.G.S. Accused of Arson and Racketeering

10 members of Ironworkers Local 401 were arrested earlier today on charges of arson and racketeering. T.H.U.G.S stand for “The Helpful Union GuyS”, one of the nicknames the crew alleged led by Joseph Dougherty gave themselves.
Plenty of people in Philadelphia (including Your Author) have strong feelings and real cynicism about union labor: http://storify.com/bethanneboyle/never-thought-they-d-arrest-the-goon-sqaud