FYI Philly celebrates PRIDE month around Philadelphia area

6abc Digital Staff Image
Friday, June 9, 2023
FYI Philly celebrates PRIDE month around the Philadelphia area
Adam Joseph and Alicia Vitarelli celebrate Pride in Philadelphia with businesses displaying the best of the LGBTQ+ community.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Adam Joseph and Alicia Vitarelli celebrate Pride in Philadelphia with businesses displaying the best of the LGBTQ+ community.

Marcie Turney and Valeria Safran open new Midtown spot Darling Jack's

Walk into Darling Jack's Tavern, and you'll step into another era.

Designed with a mid-century modern vibe, there's a large bar, an open kitchen with a chef's counter and a flying ducks banquette that runs the entire length of the dining room.

It's the newest creation from Marcie Turney and her wife, Valeria Safran. In the past two decades, they have opened more than a dozen retail stores and restaurants, with a strong focus on Midtown Village and the Gayborhood.

The menu is American with tavern-style pizza with thin crust and party cut for sharing.

There's a dish called Today's focaccia, made with a high hydration dough so it's super light and airy and topped with roasted grapes and rosemary.

The French onion soup has a mighty bread sourdough inside and a funky three-cheese blend.

Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4-7 with a bartender's choice spritz and a 'Don't Do Me Dirty Darling' martini made with Castelvetrano olive brine, a Sicilian olive that' Marcie describes as super buttery.

Darling Jack's is Marcie and Val's first ground-up creation in Midtown in eight years.

They took a long pause to adopt their now 4 1/2-year-old daughter, Harlow, and they're hoping to adopt another child soon.

When they embarked on their entrepreneurial journey, Midtown Village was not what it is today.

Now more than 20 years later, they take pride in knowing that they've helped transform the 13th Street corridor into what it is today.

Darling Jack's | Instagram

104 S 13th St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107


Nonnormative Body Club shapes a different view of working out

Asher Lerman Freeman is the certified personal trainer behind Philly-based Nonnormative Body Club.

This niche area of the fitness industry specializes in body types that are outside of normative definitions of beauty and health.

Freeman's clients include larger-physique people, people with physical disabilities, transgender people, and more.

Asher designs individualized workout programs to give clients access to fitness that they can do outside of the mainstream gym landscape that will create optimum health for their specific lifestyle needs.

Nonnormative Body Club | Facebook | Instagram

Grrlblk makes flowery jewelry and crafts for springtime vibes

The owner of Grrlblk named Ronnie is a self-taught crafter and all-around creative spirit.

They have been making jewelry for five years now, but have always been creating art.

Ronnie also draws prints and makes small items, but earrings are the top sellers at Grrlblk.

Ronnie also plays electric guitar in a rock band and travels the area to sell their art at various craft markets.

Grrlblk | Facebook | Instagram

Gumbo Flea

6/24/23, hours 12-5pm

IllExotics is part plant store, pet shop and conservation center

When you first step into IllExotics in East Passyunk, it feels like a traditional plant store -- except for the dance music soundtrack and tropical houseplants from around the world.

The shop is known for what co-owner Franco Urban calls "unique, weird oddball kind of houseplants."

You'll find everything from baby carnivorous pitcher plants to the giant Monstera deliciosa that became a horticultural hit during the COVID-19 lockdown, and all kinds of orchids.

And, if you follow the frog footprints on the floor, up the ramp and past the colorful mural of Mother Earth, you'll find yourself suddenly transported from the dance floor to the jungle.

In The Reptile Room, there are all kinds of chameleons, iguanas and a blue tongue skink that Franco says is considered a puppy dog of the reptile world because it will hang with you on the couch while you watch a movie.

Franco and his husband, Chris, created the space. Franco went to school for horticulture and herpetology. Chris is a DJ and designed the entire space to be an experience.

The two met in 2014, married in 2021, and then wed their passions with the creation of IllExotics.

Flower Show lovers may recognize the couple's work from this year's show.

They created a best-in-show exhibit called Studio Exotica depicting a disco taken over by the jungle.

They chose the disco theme because discos have long been a safe haven for the LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities.

Back at the shop, there's what they call the Illarium, a big glass enclosure where you can see how the tropical plants would live in their natural environments.

Franco captive breeds a lot of the plants, along with the reptiles and amphibians, on-site.

The store is filled with museum-style, educational signage so popular with families, and the work in this East Passyunk Avenue shop is contributing to science as well.

Franco's painted mantella frogs, threatened in their native Madagascar, have just been shipped off to the University of Wisconsin to join the school's breeding and reintroduction program. This means Franco's frogs are now helping to keep the species alive.

Franco believes anyone who adopts a reptile or amphibian is practicing small-scale conservation and he and Chris hope everybody who walks through the store leaves with a new piece of knowledge and a stronger feeling of connection to nature.

IllExotics | Facebook | Instagram

1704-06 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, Pa. 19148


40 years of pride for City of Brotherly Love Softball League

The City of Brotherly Love Softball League is celebrating 40 years of play.

The league is made up of LGBTQIA+ and allies.

Over 40 years it has grown from an informal gathering to an organized league with a commissioner, inclusive divisions, varying competition levels, more than 650 participants and 32 teams.

Sunday is gameday and the fields at Fairmount Park are packed with families, grilling and lots of softball.

And although the games are competitive the goal is to create a social outlet for the LGBTQIA+ community.

City of Brotherly Love Softball League | Facebook | Instagram

Hit musical 'Beetlejuice' coming to Academy of Music

"It's showtime" for "Beetlejuice" as the ghost with the most from Tim Burton's 1988 film brings his antics to the stage.

It delivers the experience of the film, but in a fun, new musical on stage directed by Alex Timbers.

The story follows teenager Lydia Deetz, who is obsessed with the whole being dead thing.

She encounters Beetlejuice and can see a recently deceased couple in her new home. Deetz claims she can see these ghosts, "because I myself am strange and unusual."

They're trying to scare Lydia's family away, but first Beetlejuice needs a favor so everyone can see him.

By saying the name 'Beetlejuice' three times it summons this demon, and he needs to have her to basically escape hell for eternity.

'Beetlejuice' runs May 30 through June 11 at the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus.

'Beetlejuice' at the Academy of Music | Tickets

Academy of Music

240 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102


June 4th is Pride Day, and the Philadelphia Gay News is celebrating with a pride brunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Governor Josh Shapiro is among the honorees, receiving the Ally Award.

The visibility award will go to Carson Kressley and 6abc's Adam Joseph will be emceeing the event, which you can watch live on 6abc wherever you stream.

Philadelphia Gay News Pride Brunch

1324 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147

The Philadelphia Pride March and Festival is back on June 4. This year's theme is Love, Light and Liberation.

The March steps off at 6th and Walnut at 10:30 a.m. and ends in the Gayborhood.

Along the way, look for a giant 200-foot-long record-breaking Pride flag.

The festival runs noon-7 p.m. with more than 200 local artists, vendors, food trucks, community organizations and bars.

The day-long event is sponsored by Galaei, a historic organization serving queer, trans, Black, Brown, indigenous, and people of color

The Philadelphia Pride March and Festival

June 4, 10:30am-7pm

Philly Gay Pride MonthCalendar | Website | Instagram

Pride month runs 30 days and there are hundreds of ways to celebrate -from drag brunches and teas to the Philly Pride Run, rainbow bagels and cocktails, and the Hall of Flags.