Our Hottest and Newest Writers in 2013: A Note From PhillyGayCalendar’s Editor

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."–Ray Bradbury

I started to oversee the columns for PhillyGayCalendar back in August, and was both delighted and terrified at the same time.  I knew I had a good deal of work cut out for me; my mission and goal was to present you, our readers, with the best quality information, entertainment, and writing on anything “Gay Philly” has to offer.  The bonus for me in all of this was meeting so many new endearing, lovely, wonderful friends and colleagues in the Philadelphia LGBTQ community.

I’m humbled when I think about our writers and how amazingly talented they are—they do this work for free, folks, and they deserve a huge bit of gratitude from the community for everything that they do.  If you are an avid PhillyGayCalendar reader, I encourage you to tell our awesome columnists how much you enjoy their work.  Share their articles on social media.  “Like” them on Facebook.  To my writers: from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Before I talk about some of our new projects on the blog, I want to provide some much-needed gratefulness to several of our “long term” PhillyGayCalendar producers who took a “jump” into writing for us over the last several months.  Tara Lessard has been with PGC for many, many years as a photographer, but we were lucky enough to have her write a lovely piece on Philadelphia Fight.  She’s such a multi-faceted, talented person and we’re privileged to have her as part of our team.

Another “behind the scenes” PGC vet took the plunge into writing for us in 2013 (literally).  Mike LaMonaca has been “the guy behind the camera” for many of PGC’s video interviews and helps tremendously with the website’s director, Steve McCann, but, for a change, Mike penned a wildly popular column on taking a gay cruise.  Mike does so much work for PGC, especially during QFest, and it was great to have him take on a column!

Brian Martenis, our travel writer, is one of the most reliable, witty, and informative people that I know, and he shares his insanely comprehensive knowledge of the ins and outs of national and international tourism with our readers on a weekly basis.  His column this year on Gay Scotland was one of the highest-volume pieces that PGC ever published.  Lately, Brian’s been flexing his writing muscle in some new ways with PGC, and our readers couldn’t be happier.

We’re also lucky to have long-time blogger Dan Manigini, who profiles some of the community’s most progressive allies and supporters in his interviews.   His profiles on Rudy Flesher and Jeffrey Beaver were two of the most popular reads on PGC in 2013.  We can’t wait to see whom you feature next!

We’ve had a LOT of new faces join our writing team this last year, and each one of them brings a host and depth of unique and interesting knowledge to our readers.  Michael Liang’s bi-monthly column, “Spooning,” is the first time PGC ventured into providing our readers with easy at-home recipes (the most popular thus far was a simple honey ginger tea with whiskey).  Michael’s writing is beautiful, and what you might not know is that he also creates all of his original photography to go along with his columns.  We are so lucky to have his culinary expertise!

Myrna Rodriguez joined us as the “female” perspective throughout our entire coverage of QFest 2013.  Myrna’s reviews of various QFest selections were widely received as engaging and extremely thoughtful.  She also wrote a fabulous piece for our “Coming Out Project” in October.  Myrna is one of the most sharp writers that I know, and I’m totally honored to not only have her as a PGC columnist, but as a friend.

We’re also so lucky to welcome other relatively recent new voices to PGC in 2013: Andrew Clark, Ben Robinson III, and Mel Orpen, along with the return of blogger Deeann Cox and her “Heels on Wheels” feature.  These writers have joined us over the last two to three months.  They have big plans ahead for the upcoming year, and we can’t wait to read their work!

This is also a great time to send a shout-out to some of our other writers who have had their work grace PhillyGayCalendar’s digital pages in 2013: Angela Giampolo, David Alexander Jenkins, David Boorman, Diane Matkowski, Josh Schonewolf, Lula Libson, Matt O’Neill, Michael Kelly, Noe Espinosa, Sarah Rose, and Z, The Ignant Intellectual.

Of course, I have to send a huge thank you to Steve McCann, PhillyGayCalendar’s director and founder.  Without him, none of this would be possible.  Steve gave me a monster of a project, but with that “gift,” he also showed that he entrusted me with his baby.  That action says more than any “thank you” that I can type on a page!

And, most of all, the biggest “thank you” goes to our readers—you are what keeps us going.

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