Thursday, February 20, 2014

“That’s So Gay” Opens with Fanfare

Despite record-breaking snowfall, 150 people convened at the Library Company on Valentine’s Day to view the new exhibition that is getting noticed around the country. From traditional print and broadcast media to websites and blogs, the story of the exhibition has caught the imagination of the New York Times, WHYY, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, and ABC-10, as well as the Huffington Post Gay Voices Blog, Uwishunu, the tourism blog for Visit Philadelphia,, and All are intrigued by the exhibition’s exploration of gay life and culture at a time when those with social preferences, sexual preferences, and gender identifications that varied from the norm talked about these things in very different language.

The centerpiece of the opening festivities was the talk “What is Sex For?” by noted historian David Halperin. Professor Halperin considered the curious phenomenon of gay bathhouses playing love songs as a way into a discussion of Aristotle’s thoughts on the complex relationship between sex and love. Additional events to be held in conjunction with the exhibition include a table reading by Mauckingbird Theatre Company of John Marans’s play The Temperamentals on Monday, March 31; a concert by vocal ensemble Philadelphia Voices of Pride drawing inspiration from the Library Company’s collection of sheet music on Monday June 30; and a lecture by Marc Stein, author of City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves, in October.

Those who can’t travel to Philadelphia to see the exhibition first-hand are invited to view the content and join the conversation at

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