February 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm EDT | by David J. Hoffman
Arts news in brief

Comedian Ben Lerman will perform a Center benefit at the Source Monday night with Jessica Halem. (Photo courtesy of Ben Lerman)

Center hosts gay comedy night Monday

The idea is simple — laugh your butt off when two New York City stand-up comics double up the gender jokes for one-night only in D.C. – Monday at the Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street N.W.

And it’s all for a good cause, says David Mariner, director of the Center, D.C.’s LGBT community center. “They’re both fabulous and funny,” he says.

The event is a Center fundraiser. Expect bawdy humor as both comics are well-known for leaving no possible humor in LGBT life unexplored,

Listen for Ben Lerman’s hilariously autobiographical rap-song, “Ben Lerman Plays Ukelele,” and “Tough Love Lesbo” with its girl-group vibe, and “Chubby Chaser,” the thumping disco shout-out to the skinny folks who “like ’em plump.”  Called both “sick and brilliant” by Time Out New York, he’s a regular guest on XM Sirius satellite radio shows and made his TV debut in 2009 on HERE-TV’s Hot Gay Comix.”

Then there’s Jessica Halem, described as a “funny on-your-face queer feminist comic,” who explains it all this way: “My parents were two crazy radical Jewish hippies who must have taken some bad acid, got in their VW van, and (then) decided to raise a girl — me.”

Tickets are $20 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Center. Seating at the Source Theater will be limited, so advance purchase recommended through www.brownpapertickets.com/event/145229.

Whitman-Walker partners for black HIV/AIDS event

Whitman-Walker Clinic will join other local health organizations to present National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day for a community event at Metropolitan Community Church, 474 Ridge Road, just north of 5th and K Streets N.W., from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

The event includes free HIV testing and counseling, workshops, food and entertainment.

The Clinic plans to offer needed ongoing primary care for those diagnosed and information for others on prevention.

Whitman-Walker will off free HIV testing at both its sites Monday. Hours at the Elizabeth Taylor Center (1701 14th Street, N.W.) are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at the Max Robinson Center (2301 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E.) from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. A Rogers film tribute is planned at the AFI Silver. (Still courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

AFI Silver plans Ginger Rogers centennial festival

Yes, this year she’d be 100. And yes, what she did with dance partner, on stage and silver screen, Fred Astaire was harder, because she did do it with him but “backwards and in high heels,” as the adage goes.

To honor the centenary of her birth, highlights of all 10 of Ginger Rogers’ films with Astaire will be shown starting today through April 6 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Coleville road in Silver Spring, Md.

Also, Rogers’ most memorable non-dancing performances will be shown — many notable for their first-rank directors and co-stars – such as “The Major and the Minor” on March 26 and 29 (with Cary Grant and directed by Billy Wilder) and “Monkey Business” on March 18, 19, 23 and 24 (costarring again screen idol Cary Grant but also Marilyn Monroe and directed by Howard Hawks).

The series begins with “Flying Down To Rio” today at 5:30 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. Monday. Other highlights include “The Gay Divorcee” at 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday and 9 p.m. Wednesday and a cascade of other great hits like “Top Hat,” “Swing Time” and “Stage Door” follows. “Kitty Foyle,” for which she won the Best Actress Oscar, is slated for March 27 and 28. For a complete list of films and days and times, go to www.afi.com/silver.

Wizards Night Out Saturday at Verizon Center

After continuously coming up short and winless on the road at 0-24, the third-worst road start in NBA history, the losing-streak-away Wizards will play a home game against the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. Saturday at Verizon Center, 601 F Street N.W.

So if you like the bouncing round ball, the dribbling, the passing, the jump shots, the fouls and the rebounds — and yes, we’re talking basketball here, not romance — Saturday is a good night to come out for this game, which is sponsored by Team D.C., the Blade, Nellie’s Sports Bar, and Youth Pride Alliance.

A portion of the proceeds — $10 of every ticket purchased — will benefit Capital Queer Prom and Youth Pride Alliance. Nellie’s will host the official after party. For more information, visit verizoncenter.com/wiz/2011wiznightout.

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