Wed like you to meet the famous Kevin Gilmore, who also goes by his drag name Phoebe Manntrappe.
Kevin grew up in Langhorne, Bucks County and began hanging out at Zadar’s when he was still a teenager. He said on his 21st. birthday the bartender at Zadar’s said, “Haven’t you been coming here for four years already?”
Kevin felt New Hope was a welcoming, non-judgmental community from the start, which “felt like home.” He said it was “utopia.” Meeting his partner at the Raven, he has also made lifelong friendships, being in New Hope for 39 years. He worked waiting tables and bartending at various restaurants in town.
He said people always said he was “a pretty boy” and was encouraged to perform in drag. Kevin said he was initially not fond of doing drag and did it because other people said he should. It was Joe Black who gave him his drag name Phoebe Manntrappe. At first, he was going to be called “Penelope.”
Kevin said he came into his own and began learning the “Art of Illusion,” forming lasting bonds with Mother and Danee. He said now he would change into slippers after performing when years ago he would have to walk in heels all day. He said drag is going to change and he hopes to leave the younger generation with his lead to follow.
His favorite story is about one of Mother’s weddings at the Raven. Kevin said Mother had a birdcage in her hair with a live bird in it; she couldn’t fit sitting up in the car, so they had to transport her lying down with the birdcage. He remembered thinking to himself, “You can’t get this anywhere else.” He is also fond of being in the film, “I remember Mother.”
Kevin’s fondest memories were going to the Cartwheel, the Raven and the Prelude. He remembered when New Hope’s downtown opened up with drag shows at Fran’s Pub and John & Peter’s. His favorite place to hangout is still John & Peter’s where he worked for a short time. He said it’s the “bond” there of people from all walks of life.
He said he worries about today’s youth and finds social media can be a little scary, in that you don’t know who you are meeting, but said that now they have access to like-minded people all over the world.
He said he is “part of the old guard, which helps to keep the memories and the spirit alive.”
Kevin said helping to bring awareness to the community and helping New Hope Celebrates history program is essential to him. “This community is like no other place on earth, where people truly care for one another and support each other through good and bad times.”