February 10, 2011 | by David J. Hoffman
Arts news in brief

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington. (Photo courtesy of the Chorus)

‘Let’s Hear It for the Boys!’

That’s the title of the special Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington concert on Saturday to celebrate the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy barring gays and lesbians from openly serving in uniform. Sure, but “let’s hear it for the girls,” too, because they were also affected by this discriminatory law, enacted in 1993 and finally repealed and signed into law by President Obama late last year.

The concert is at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G Street N.W.

“We’re celebrating repeal,” says Jeff Burhrman, Chorus artistic director, “with our own stage door canteen in a swinging salute to GLBT men and women in uniform who have served, despite the policy that has denied them full equality.”

Major Mike Almy, discharged under DADT five years ago after 13 years in the Air Force and a leading activist for repeal who was a witness in the legal cases against the policy, will also speak. Joining the full chorus are the Rock Creek Singers, the Chorus’s chamber ensemble of 24 singers who belt out everything from traditional choral music to Broadway.

Songs will include the classic “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” a major hit by the Andrews Singers, an iconic World War II tune introduced by them in the 1941 Abbott and Costello film “Buck Privates,” and later reintroduced to a new generation of pop music fans in 1973 in Bette Midler’s version of the song. Another song, “Make Them Hear You,” from the 1993 Broadway hit musical Ragtime,” about the spirit to continue the fight through peaceful means, will also be featured, Buhrman says.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) will be honored with the Chorus’s 2011 Harmony Award for its legal counsel to LGBT servicemembers facing discharge and for its leadership role in getting repeal enacted.

Tickets are $35. Call 202-293-1548 or visit www.GMCW.org.

Shades of romance, ‘Color of Love’

Love, exciting and new. That’s the theme of a special show in the visual arts, the ”Color of Love,” and mostly it’s scarlet, crimson, rouge, ruby, any name you want to give the color of red, in an exhibit by 50 artists with their many interpretations of the charismatic color and the emotions they signify — perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day Monday, at the Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Avenue N.W. It runs through Feb. 27.

Ksenia Grishkova, Russian-born director of the gallery, which is an artists’ collective established in 1976, says that “the materials and color palettes are as varied as their 50 heartfelt definitions of love.”

The media represented are in oils and acrylics, photography, sculpture, clay, wood and metals. Many of the artists also wrote haiku, the Japanese short form of poetry, to introduce their works.

Mary Lynch shows her stunning and erotic blood-red “Poppies for O’Keefe,” a reference to painter Georgia O’Keefe, boldly colored in both scarlet and ebony oils on a large canvas molded on a petal-shaped wooden frame, and introduced with her haiku: “Poppies for O’Keefe, words are not quite red enough, February cold.”

Meanwhile, gay artist Timothy Johnson shows a subtle sensuality, as well as a sly sense of a fun, in his “Under Belly,” a 30-by-40-inch acrylic on canvas, all in pale pinks showing the naked flesh of a man, his head, arms and torso depicted, enticing yet upside down.

For more information, see www.touchstonegallery.com.

Oscar party and a chance to see the short subjects

The Academy Awards are coming Feb. 27, and the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community has announced its sixth annual Oscar telecast-viewing party to be held that evening starting with a red carpet stroll at 7 p.m. at Town, 2009 8th St N.W.

Tickets are $50 for VIP access and $35 for general admission. They’re available at thedcenter.org. Tickets for $20 may also be purchased at the door, for standing-room-only access.

Don’t miss in the meantime seeing the Oscar-nominated short-subject films, so you have an inkling of what’s at stake and can even second guess the results when those envelopes are opened on the big night. These short films are usually difficult to see, but thanks to the Landmark E Street Cinema, at 11th and E Street N.W, you can watch them all, for one week beginning today, in two feature-length programs, one for the live-action and the other for the animation nominees.

Speaking of film, you can also see the dark comedy of how a film documentary crew can turn upside down the world of Aran Islands’ rural villagers living in 1934 on the tiny island of Inishmore when the cameras appear. But this production, “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” staged by the famed Irish theater company Druid with the help of New York Atlantic Theater, is not on the screen but on stage, and only through Saturday at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater.

The 1996 play, called “a subversive charmer” by the New York Times, written by Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh and directed by Tony Award winner Garry Hynes, tells of a young, orphaned “cripple” named Billy Claven who is selected for a part in the film, triggering his dreams of escape from rural isolation to take flight. Tickets from $25 to $69 are at 202-467-4600 or kennedy-center.org.

Another film is shown only tonight, Kareem J. Mortimer’s “Children of God,” in the Reel Affirmations extra monthly series of LGBT films, at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street N.W. This film has been called both tough and touching as it shows two men in Brazil who struggle with coming out. Shows are at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $12, from 800-494-TIXS or visit boxofficetickets.com.

Finally, be sure to check out the fourth annual “Our City” film festival, the only festival that showcases D.C.-focused films, Saturday and Sunday at the Goethe Institute, 812 7th Street N.W.

“D.C. is so much more than monuments, politics and traffic,” says Kendra Rubinfeld, the festival’s founding director and a staff member of the sponsoring organization, Yachad (“together” in Hebrew), a D.C. nonprofit that works to bring communities together through service. Festival proceeds go for Yachad programming.

“We are screening 11 fantastic films this year that tell so many stories,” Rubinfeld says. They include a short film, “Types in Stereo,” directed by Gemal Woods, that in just 10 minutes tells about how humans can exist in multiple spaces, a film that brings the viewer in and out of the world of stereotypes; and the festival finale, “D.C. Cupcakes,” about the little M Street cupcakery, Georgetown Cupcakes, and the two baking sisters, Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis, the “Cupcake Ladies” featured in the reality-TV show of that title, just beginning its second season on the TLC cable channel. The ladies will be present for Q&A after the screenings and also sell cupcakes at shows on Sunday at 7:30 and 9 p.m. For full schedule and tickets, visit ourcityfilmfestival.com

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