GAYDAR EXTRA: A ‘Big Time’ At Valanni

BY AARON STELLA GAYDAR EDITOR Never would I have thought that Valanni with its skinny little waist could birth such a heifer of an event as “Big Time” fashion show, but such was the case Thursday night. Designers from around Philadelphia showcased their reinventions of chestnut fashions from the ’80s, from the big hot pink hair, to the clunky jewelry, right down to the pastel spandex. Emceeing the event was interior-design debutante Brini Maxwell, bringing yet another lustrous layer of chic to the homage to retro. Well-wishers, admirers and fashion enthusiasts arrived in droves, dressed to the nines and pack […]

GAYDAR EXTRA: The Horror! The Horror!

“Last House on the Right” is the Dumpsta Players’ Halloween homage to the horrors of the Bush dynasty, currently dying on the West Lawn of the White House like a stinky old fish nobody bothers to throw back in the water. FYI, The Dumpsta Players are a wild trash-glitz drag troupe who flaunt not only their facility for choreographed pandemonium, but their talent for serious, on-edge skits fraught with social commentary and good old fashioned grab-your-pitchfork American outrage. This time out, the cast of misbegotten characters includes: Cuntaleeza Rice, Siouxsie Sioux, Rev. Allawaysus Wright, Dr. Mendrakis, and, my personal favorite, […]

GAYDAR: Sarah, You CANNOT ‘Pray Away The Gay’

  BY AARON STELLA GAYDAR EDITOR Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, an organization fighting right wing lies and the “ex-gay” fraud, recently urged Sarah Palin to “come out” about her church’s beliefs about ex-gay ministries. Palin’s church supported an ex-gay conference that was held in Anchorage on September 10th, 2008. According to TWO, Palin agrees that homosexuality can be cured through prayer—so every god-fearing Christian needs to join the crusade. What Palin’s church and other religious sects affiliated with ex-gay ministries withhold from the public is how few homosexuals have been “cured” and how many have run […]

GAYDAR: Let’s Get Baked!

    BY AARON STELLA GAYDAR EDITOR It happened on the fairest of Thursdays that I had the pleasure of lunching with two of Brooklyn’s hottest new specialty bakery owners, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Lately, A-list celebrities have been helping to disseminate news of their revamped line of sugary, and not so sugary treats. Lewis and Poliafito’s Sweet and Salty Cake was recently featured on Martha Stewart; their brownies were featured on the Today show and selected as one of Oprah’s favorite things. And now, for the first time, the duo share some of their treasured secrets in BAKED: […]

GAYDAR: Is That All There Is To An Apocalypse?

  BY AARON STELLA Well, here we are again with another exciting edition of GAYDAR! This week, we’re traveling back in time to turn-of-the-century Alabama, the land of pork rinds, pickled pigs feet, deep-fried snickers and Creationism. Know that it wasn’t the simple fare or the relaxed colloquialisms, or even the Biblical science,  that drew my family to the middle of nowhere. We were pilgrims, in the loosest sense of the word, in that we desired a new start, and a place where we could worship freely with fellow Catholics — oh yeah, and we were on the run from […]

GAYDAR: Livin’ La Dolce Musto

BY AARON STELLA Amidst the revelry of the Mr. Gay Philadelphia pageant, I was able to finagle a future interview out of Michael Musto, famed gay-celeb columnist for the Village Voice in NYC. So a couple of weeks later, I hopped on the Chinatown bus headed for Village Voice’s headquarters in NYC. Musto, dressed in a crisp black and white vertical-striped shirt and baggy black slacks, (and of course, wearing his trademark Sally Jesse Raphaels) explained to me that the Voice was moving. Most everything was packed in boxes and hardly anyone was in the newsroom. We found a quiet […]

GAYDAR: Dear Dad, I’m Gay, Love, Your Son

BY AARON STELLA We’re back, folks, with another fabulous edition of GAYDAR! OK, I realized last week that we need to have a little “come to Jesus meeting” about my father, as so much of what happened with my family stemmed directly from the decisions he made. But keep something in mind as you read: I know little about my father’s interior life. I could never trust the man, both in what he told me of himself and about the world, so my assertions about him here are, by definition, pure speculation. But at the same time, I have learned […]

GAYDAR: Me And Mr. Gay

The author with John Caputo, winner of this year’s Mr. Gay Philadelphia contest. BY AARON STELLA The Mr. Gay Philadelphia festivities were fabulous, pumped with enough glitz, glamor and celeb star power to draw gay Philadelphians of every echelon to the Gershman Y last Friday night. Supporters on the scene included, but were not limited to, Stacy Vey, owner of Stir, Jason Crook, owner of PHAG, Thom Cardwell, executive director of the Philadelphia Film Society, Wayne A. Hamilton, Esq., president of the Sapphire Fund, and many others. But without a doubt, the real stars of the evening were the gorgeous […]

GAYDAR EXTRA: How Gay Is Mr. Gay Philadelphia?

Well, I for one plan to find out at the second annual Mr. Gay Philadelphia contest tomorrow night! Guest celebrities Michael Musto, Frank DeCaro, Jack Mackenroth, and Bruce Hayes will be judging the man candy at Gershman Hall’s Levit Auditorium in Center City (401 S. Broad Street). Mr. Gay was a big hit last year, and its sponsor (, if you must know) expect Mr. Gay 2008 to be bigger and better and GAYER than ever. A portion of the proceeds from the contest and silent auction will be given to one of the city’s most outstanding charitable organizations, Action […]

GAYDAR: My Life After Christ

BY AARON STELLA Ladies and gentlemen and fellow gay Americans: welcome to an all-new Gaydar! This week, we chronicle the slings and arrows of my family’s post-cult life and my first bold steps in discovering my sexual niche (all the juicy details included, not for the faint of heart gay). OK, here goes: In the December of my 12th year on this earth, my family and I left The Community, aka The Cult. It had become undeniable to us that we were being exploited, and despite my parents’ desperate desire for a wholesome Christian life, they couldn’t ignore the rampant […]

GAYDAR: There’s A Sex Dwarf Party In My Pants

BY AARON STELLA Sex Dwarf, DJ Robert Drake’s monthly gay bash, just turned five, and to honor such a joyous occasion, the Dumpsta Players — Phawker’s favorite wild wig-headed trash-glitz drag troup — put on a lip-sync dance tribute to New Wave Saturday night at Fluid. In the words of Miss Lisa Lisa, host of the longest-running drag show in the city at Bob and Barbara’s, “they bring the glamour with the clamor.” Drake channels his passion of New Wave 80’s dance music through the festivities of Sex Dwarf, as fans of New Wave — and of Drake — flocked […]

GAYDAR: My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult

  BY AARON STELLA This week, Imma gonna tell ya a little somethin’ about me, a.k.a I’m going to start prattling on like a drunk blonde at a frat party, with a whole bunch of “No one understands me!” and “Oh my God, I love this song!” OK, not really, but what I’m about to tell you about my life usually redirects whatever the present conversation is to a relentless onslaught of who, what, where, when, why, and “what the fuck?” If you missed last week’s edition, check it out and get yourself up to speed. Alright, let’s get this […]

GAYDAR: To Be Young And Gay In Philadelphia

BY AARON STELLA Welcome one and all to the brand spanking new Phawker gay column called … drumroll, please … GAYDAR. My name is Aaron Stella, at your service, and I am proud to succeed Miss Tommy Zane — whose honesty and sharp wit made us laugh and invited us to share in his vision of the gay life in our fair city. I’m a bit younger than Zane — only 22, part of the troupe he might call “you young things” — but I’ve got plenty to say, and there’s never a time I haven’t got a hurricane brewing […]