November 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm EDT | by Juliette Ebner
Arts briefs: Gay-themed ‘Ladies’ screens Friday

A still from the gay-themed film 'Leading Ladies' which will be screened tonight in Alexandria. (Photo courtesy of the filmmakers)

Gay-themed ‘Ladies’ screened tonight

“Leading Ladies,” a film about a ballroom dancing family, will have its D.C. premiere tonight at 7 p.m. at the AMC Hoffman Theatre (206 Swamp Fox Rd.) in Alexandria as part of the fourth annual Alexandria Film Festival.

The film follows the Campari family. Sheri is the larger-than-life, overbearing stage mom who was once a young and beautiful ballroom champion and now lives vicariously through her youngest daughter Tasi. Sheri’s oldest daughter, Toni is Tasi’s practice partner. The only consistent man in the life of the Campari women is Tasi’s partner Cedric.

This film has a number of LGBT angles. Tasi’s dance partner, Cedric, played by Benji Schwimmer, is gay. Toni, played by Laurel Vail, has her first romantic experience with Mona and later becomes her dance parter.

The film will be followed by a party at Yves Bistro (235 Swamp Fox Rd.), just steps from the theater. Schwimmer and actresses Melanie LaPatin and Vail will give a live ballroom dancing demonstration.

Tickets are $9.01. For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.

Art auction to benefit Whitman-Walker

The 17th annual Art for Life art auction will be held Nov. 12 at the Carnegie Institute of Washington (1530 P St., N.W.) at 6 p.m.

The auction and cocktail reception will benefit Whitman-Walker Clinic’s HIV/AIDS prevention services for communities of color.

“Art for Life brings a message of hope to communities that are being devastated by HIV/AIDS in D.C.,” Don Blanchon, Whitman-Walker Clinic’s executive director, said in a press release for the event. “We must remember that communities of color are bearing the brunt of the epidemic. The funds raised by Art for Life will help us reach these communities with the message, the tools and the power to protect themselves.”

Dr. Shannon Hader, former director of D.C.’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration, will receive the clinic’s Community Service Award for her contributions to the HIV/AIDS fight in D.C. Three longtime contributing artists will also be recognized as Art for Life Honorees.

“I have been a friend and supporter of Whitman-Walker Clinic for many years,” Renato Salazar, one of the Art for Life Honorees, said in a press release. “When I came to the United States … Whitman-Walker was there when I needed health care services and could not afford health insurance. Donating … is my way of giving back.”

More than 60 international artists have donated works ranging from paintings to photography to sculptures for the auction.

Tickets for the event, a preview exhibit of the art and absentee bid forms for those unable to attend are available here.

Us Helping Us plans fall event

Us Helping Us will be having its autumn reception, “A Passion for Living: An Evening of Live Music, Fine Cuisine and Community Celebration,” Nov. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the SunTrust Bank Penthouse (1445 New York Ave., N.W.) featuring Anthony David, Grammy-nominated recording artist.

Us Helping Us will be honoring several people and organizations.

Ernest Hopkins, co-founder of the Washington, D.C. Black Gay and Lesbian Pride Day, will received the Founders Award for Outstanding Leadership

Philip Pannell, the first African American in the country to be arrested in an AIDS demonstration and who organized the first community meeting about AIDS east of the Anacostia River, will receive the Thurlow Tibbs Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Carlene Cheatam, a long-time community activist and pioneer in the LGBT community, will also received the Thurlow Tibbs Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Mildred and Eugene Young, parents of the late Marvin Young, have advocated for Us Helping Us since his death in 1995 and will received the Chairman’s Award for Philanthropy.

Terrance Payton, the elementary program director at New Community for Children, a mentor to many Washingtonian youth will receive the Marvin Young Volunteer Award.

Tickets are $125 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, go here or call 202-446-1100.

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