On Saturday, Nov. 26, a very dazzling — and very important — showcase will grace the stage of one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful establishments. As if the city didn’t already have enough to be thankful for during the last week of November, audiences from all walks of life will be treated to Queer Performances of Color at CiBo Ristorante Italiano in Center City.
The showcase is an all persons of color cast that aims to strengthen unity among everyone in the city, particularly within the LGTBQ community. Creator Leo Gonzales, who has worked in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood in a number of performance-related roles, from performer to accompanist to even sound engineer, came up with the idea after seeing what kinds of entertainment the neighborhood — and the community that thrived there — needed and wanted the most.
“I truly believe that creating a space for Queer Performances of Color is a step towards healing from the effects of being marginalized within the LGBTQ community,” Gonzales said. “It creates a voice and my hope is that our work will bring a positive change in further understanding one another and ultimately getting closer to true inclusiveness.”
Audiences are promised a slew of very organic and very personal performances at the show. While Gonzales may have conceived the idea, he explained that “whether it be singing, dancing, spoken word poetry, drag or burlesque, the acts are raw, real and a testament to their unapologetic self.”
In addition to Gonzales himself, the show will also feature performances from such prominent local LGTBQ performers as Otis Pena, Sapphira Cristal, Jarret McCreary, Aurora Whorealis, Aida Bummcake, Kevyn Black Mines, Icon Ebony Fierce and Jaeda. Guest speakers Stro Kyle, Marcus Neal Gordon, and The Black and Brown Workers Collective will also be on hand, in addition to the main cast of performers.
With a positive response from Philadelphia’s LGTBQ community in the weeks leading up to the event, Queer Performances of Color is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to events for the neighborhood and its community members.
“The Philadelphia LGBTQ Arts Initiative is filing for a 501C3 status so that, through donations and grants, we will be able to gather more resources to promote community inclusiveness and end discrimination through performances,” Gonzales said. He will also be at the helm of several similar shows throughout December at various venues around the neighborhood.
While there is no cover to enjoy the show at CiBo Ristorante Italiano, a $5 donation is suggested. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 and the performance itself will kick off promptly at 11 p.m.