Pridefest Keeps Expanding

Posted: April 24, 1998

The nation's largest and most comprehensive gay and lesbian festival returns to Philadelphia for five days starting Wednesday.

Now in its sixth year, PrideFest will offer seven parties and an eight-hour Sunday festival on 12th Street featuring food, drinks, crafts and music. All told, there will be more than 70 events.

But what really separates PrideFest from other gay-pride events is its emphasis on serious symposia, including speakers and panels on religion, journalism, business and other fields.

Programs will be presented by 60 regional groups and nine of the largest national gay and lesbian organizations. PrideFest has grown to a point that it attracts visitors from all over the country.

Events will be held at locations throughout the city.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., an art exhibit and poetry presentation will take place at the William Way Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. This will be a tribute to Jim Wheeler, a student at the University of the Arts who dreamed of a career in the arts, but killed himself at 18 in November, a few months after graduating from high school in Lebanon County.

Phil Donahue will receive the Tom Stoddard National Role Model Award on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the William Way Community Center. The host of the Phil Donahue Show for 29 years is being honored as the first major television figure to educate the public about the sexual-minority community.

For a complete program, call 215-732-3378 or 800-990-3378. Better yet, go to the festival Web site at - and click on the pulsating schedule of events.

Indigo Girls. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers launched a national tour of college campuses on Friday. And they'll be among the headliners in this summer's traveling Lilith Fair (coming to the E-Centre on July 17; tickets are not yet on sale). And they will headline the 10th annual Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival on June 6 in Elmer, N.J.

Winners of seven nominations and one actual Grammy since getting together in 1987, the Indigo Girls will top a list of folky, countryish performers that include Iris DeMent, Moxy Fruvous, Livingston Taylor, Grey Eye Glances, Vance Gilbert, Karen Savoca, Joseph Parsons, Bill Morganfield, Whirligig and Michelle Nagy.

Advance tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for students and seniors. Same-day sales will be priced 20 percent higher. Phone: 800-394-1211.

Spice Girls. Seats for the show at Madison Square Garden in New York City sold out in minutes. Now the Spice Girls have announced a Philadelphia date: June 27 at 8 p.m. at the CoreStates Center.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, $27.50 and $37.50, with a limit of four per person.

A semi-joke to musical critics, the Spice Girls have nonetheless become a worldwide sensation because of their sassy, sexy, retro-'60s style - and their ability to enjoy it all with good humor.

Tickets will be available at the CoreStates box office and at the Electric Factory Concerts office, 1231 Vine St. and from Ticketmaster. Phone: 215-336-2000 or 609-338-9000.

Concerto Soloists. ``Make a Joyful Noise - a Concert of Massive Musical Magnificence'' is the title of the chamber orchestra's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel.

The program, at 7:30 p.m. May 17 at the Academy of Music, will address themes ranging from the Bible to George Gershwin.

Joining Israeli mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham and other musicians will be a 500-voice choir drawn from 20 area synagogues. Most tickets range from $10 to $56. Phone: 215-893-1999.

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