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.

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.

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


Philadelphia’s City Hall houses the city’s Court of Common Pleas

Philadelphia’s City Hall houses the city’s Court of Common Pleas

Philadelphia’s City Hall houses the city’s Court of Common Pleas

Philadelphia, Pa–This  following semester, Temple University journalism students Naveed Ahsan, Beth Boyle and Ashley Dougherty will serve as crime beat reporters in the Philadelphia area over the next few months.

With thousands of employed police officers and dozens of prisons, Philadelphia and its suburbs are often perceived as criminal hotbeds.

The group will not only provide frequent crime updates but also explore several community crime prevention groups. For example, Mothers in Charge is an advocacy group that offers grief support for mothers who’ve lost children due to violence and also provides mentorship programs for young adults. Crime reports are largely comprised of facts and figures. Consequently, journalists fail to provide portraits of the actual victims and survivors.

Naveed, Beth and Ashley are also going to explore the streets of both Philadelphia and the suburbs to cover everything from court trials to petty crimes.

Covering more than 140 square miles, the Philadelphia Police Department is one of the nation’s largest police forces, dealing with crimes every single day. Stations in Philadelphia’s suburbs, including Springfield, Lower Merion and Upper Darby have much smaller forces and Naveed, Beth and Ashley are interested in looking into the differences that city and suburban officers face.

The trio of journalists will also take a look inside local courthouses. Philadelphia is home to numerous courthouses including the U.S. Federal Courthouse and the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice.

Media, located just outside Philadelphia, is home to the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. With 20 judges and three senior judges, this courthouse is part of the trial level court system in Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Police Department has its own blog, where crime reports and crime maps can be found. Other local media, like Philly.com and Action News cover crime throughout the city and its suburbs.

Crime is a common occurrence around the city and many stories don’t make the news, so Naveed, Beth and Ashley are looking to uncover those types of stories.

Sources for the pieces will vary. The trio is hoping to speak with officials–including police officers and judges–as well as Philadelphia citizens affected by crime. Court documents and police reports will also be used as primary sources for each of the stories that will be posted throughout the semester.