It’s looking like we’re in the midst of a wild week in Philly weather. Today’s highs could reach 60 with temps expected to drop way down tonight and into tomorrow. 🤷‍♂️

I’ve got some interesting stories in today’s newsletter. We start it off with a deep look at Philly’s ballroom culture, both in written and documentary form. And further down, there’s coverage of the Eagles’ come-from-behind win last night. Also, be sure not to miss The Washington Post’s investigation into confidential documents revealing what U.S. officials hid from the public about the war in Afghanistan.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

Black LGBTQ glamour and resistance thrive in Philly, 30 years later. This is ballroom.

Ballroom is its own universe. There’s glitz and glamour, sure. But there’s also so much more. Ballroom culture is now 30 years old in Philadelphia. Black LGBTQ people still run the scene here, but the audience is diversifying and spreading beyond the U.S.

A big part of the foundation of Philadelphia ballroom is the houses. They are LGBTQ chosen families, people who aren’t related by blood, but who support each other and compete against other chosen families at balls.

My colleagues explore all this and more in a documentary and written story that show the development and impact of Philadelphia’s ballroom culture over the course of three decades.

Unhappiness from social media, addictions, and more are the legacies of 2019

According to the United Nations’ World Happiness Report, the United States is nothing to smile about. Surveys indicate that American happiness has slipped since the 1980s. In 2019, the U.S. is ranked as the 19th happiest nation in the world. And, in a separate report, Philadelphia was ranked 165th in happiness out of 182 cities in the country.

Why? The U.N. report points to a few specific things. Social media, for example, can be hurting some. Others point to Americans’ quest for more money when they already have enough. Happiness may also be decreasing because Americans tend to overindulge, whether it’s on food, drugs, shopping, or even exercise.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

If you’re game to bike in the rain, more power to you. I’ll be staying dry, but enjoying the cool pictures. Awesome shot, @behtany.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting


“Gun violence is a crisis that demands all hands on deck. But before elected officials point fingers, they should make sure that they are doing all that is in their power.” — The Inquirer Editorial Board writes about Philadelphia’s lack of gun control enforcement.

What we’re reading

  • A Northeast Philly teen leveraged his online gaming network to help buy toys to replace the ones that were taken when a thief stole a truck filled with them for a Mayfair neighborhood Christmas display, CBS Philly reports.

  • A Paralympic champion had battled a degenerative muscle disease that stripped her of her independence, took away the use of her legs, and left her in agonizing pain. Under Belgian law, she was free to end her life. The New York Times tells the story of the champion who picked a date to die.

  • Disney+ launched a streaming service a month ago. A key to its quick success: Baby Yoda, The Verge reports.

Your Daily Dose of | A birthday cheesesteak

Model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen turned 34 recently and she posted on Twitter that one of her birthday gifts was a cheesesteak from Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philly.