‘A (Queer) Christmas Carol’ opens The Painted Mug in South Philly

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Soft opening of a new LGBTQ performance hall

The production also sets the tone for the venue. The Painted Mug is run by a collective of half a dozen LGBTQ people who have come together to open a friendly community space at a time when many bars and stages have closed.

The L’Etage cabaret space above Beau Monde in South Philly was temporarily closed at the start of the pandemic and has not reopened yet. Philadelphia’s only lesbian bar, The Toasted Walnut, closed earlier this year.

“A lot of the places that remain are places that really center the drinking culture and the party culture,” said Taylor Plunkett-Clements, general manager of Hum’n’Bards and director of events for The Painted Mug. “There are a lot of sober queers out there who wish they could chat with other queer people in a space designed especially for queer people and run by queer people. We were like, ‘OK, how can we do this better than bars? “”

The painted mug will feature coffee and baked goods, as well as a performance space that can accommodate a few dozen people. The interior space isn’t completely finished, but after “A (Queer) Christmas Carol,” Plunkett-Clements said the space will be ready for a more formal open house on New Years Day. have booked events every weekend through January.

The scene where Scrooge (Josh Hitchens) is piloted by the ghost of Christmas Past (Linden Curhart), is assisted by paper effects. (Kimberly Paynter / WHYY)

The space at 1527 Jackson Street, near 16th and Snyder, had been a corner retail office for an insurance company. It was real estate that Plunkett-Clements often passed past his friend and neighbor Vincent Scarfo, also known as the dragster. Beary tyler moore. Together they would take constitutional pandemic walks and talk about the state of the LGBTQ community.

Moore echoed Plunkett-Clements, saying that much of the LGBTQ social scene in Philadelphia centers around bars and nightclubs, which often involve alcohol and drugs.

“That’s not to say that there is a lot of racism issues in the Gayborhood, a lot of misogyny and womanphobia, sexual assault, ”Moore said. “A lot of these spaces cater exclusively to cis men. That doesn’t mean no one else is welcome, but in some of the spaces a lot of trans people, people of color don’t feel welcome. because they are mainly white cis men in these spaces.

Then the pandemic provided Moore with an unexpected opportunity: the value of their home had doubled. Their tiny two-bedroom townhouse in the neighborhood was suddenly in demand, and with its sale they could buy the corner retail store, live in the apartment above, and cede the street level to a collective of. business that would run it as an LGBTQ Community Center.

“It was just sitting in the market because nobody wanted to buy a giant duplex,” they said. “No one was opening businesses in the midst of the pandemic. “

“A Queer Christmas Carol” is a production of the Hum’n’Bards staged at Painted Mug, a new café and performance space in South Philadelphia, with Rosey Hart as the narrator. (Kimberly Paynter / WHYY)

Plunkett-Clements said The Painted Mug has no financial backing other than what the collective is able to share, so the space will be continuously improved over time. as funds are raised. All hired employees will own shares in the company.

“We need a little more funding to be able to build a ramp,” Plunkett-Clements said. “Ramps are very expensive, but it’s something that is really important to us.”

They say they plan to create a space that will be inviting and accommodating for LGBTQ people who may not feel comfortable or welcome in other places, including people under the age of 21, who are not. not drink alcohol or drugs, people with disabilities, parents – or anyone who just doesn’t want to go out late on a weekday.

“I know a lot of singers who don’t want to drink that much, or don’t want to sing at 10pm on a Wednesday night, which I love to do,” Plunkett-Clements said, “but it’s exhausting and some “between us have 9 to 5 jobs. We want to sing on a Saturday afternoon, then come home and go to bed at a reasonable time.

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