It started with a brainstorming session. In 2000, Home Rule (1807 14th St., N.W.; homerule.com) owners Rod Glover and his business partner Greg Link were brainstorming ideas for how to generate an influx of business in notoriously slow August so they could afford trips to retail shows at which they could order merchandise for fall.
They came up with the idea for a sidewalk sale and persuaded about seven of their neighbors to join them. It was a hit — they took all their merchandise, set it up out front and were soon on their way to the shows.
Though they’re not as involved in the planning of it now, the tradition continues. Look for the 13th annual MidCity Dog Days Sidewalk Sale this weekend from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday where about 70 businesses in the area around P and 14th (stretching up to U Street) bring their wares outdoors for the weekend (midcitydogdays.com).
“We just kind of take everything that’s been sitting on the shelf for the last nine months or been taken off the shelf, and move it out to the sidewalk at 50 percent off and it’s a big hit,” Glover says. “It’s very practical housewares stuff. Things people actually need.”
Glover, a 50-year-old Camp Hill, Pa., native, came to D.C. in 1987, his arm twisted by several friends who’d moved here and wanted him to join them. He worked in various retail shops and has always practiced his artwork on the side. He recently exhibited at Gallery Plan B with a show featuring sculpture and found wood he scorched with a propane torch. He and Link opened Home Rule on Labor Day weekend 1999. He says because of the growth in the neighborhood and a loyal customer base, it’s been successful even in the down economy.
Glover and his partner, lawyer Tom Mayes, live together in Dupont Circle. Glover enjoys creating art, cooking, entertaining, magazines and cookbooks in his free time. (Blade photo by Michael Key)
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out to my friends in college when I was 19, (and my painting professor) but didn’t come out to my parents until I was 30, on an Easter Sunday, just before I moved into a one bedroom with my partner. That was the hardest. My mother’s immediate response: “Mothers know these things. Is there anyone special?”
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I have two. My partner’s cousin, Mary Margaret “Peggy” Cleveland, because she came out to her North Carolina Presbyterian congregation in her 70s, after having been a missionary in Africa, during a big church debate on the role of LGBT people. And my friend Stephen Skinner, who founded Fairness WV, and who’s running this fall for the West Virginia House of Delegates. If elected, he would be the first openly gay delegate in West Virginia. Support his campaign.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
My apartment. Ask people.
Describe your dream wedding.
It would be just like our friend Jenny Allen’s Hootenanny — a big party with all of our friends, the Speakeasy Boys playing bluegrass, handsome bartenders, barbecue and the Potomac River as a backdrop.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Affordable higher education, affordable health care and the freedom to create.
What historical outcome would you change?
The long persistent influence of Puritanism, here and throughout the world.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Three. Seeing Jackie Hoffman on Broadway in “Hairspray,” “Xanadu” and “The Addams Family.”
On what do you insist?
That my friends come to my house, eat my cooking and take leftovers home.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Katie Petix manages our Facebook for Home Rule. She beats me hands down in posting.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“La-Bas,” but it’s already taken.
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
The ghosts that inhabit my cabin in West Virginia. They party so much it keeps me awake.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
I don’t really have much of an activist soul, but I deeply admire those who do: Keep at it and thank you.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
The last wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano. And my beautiful nieces.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Any assumption that prejudges me or others annoys me.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Trick.” Tori Spelling is fabulously nutty and the movie reminds me of myself and my friend Debbie.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Being too polite to say you want more.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I already have it — the senior art award at high school graduation. I always felt like such an outsider, and I didn’t know in advance, so it meant the world to me. I received the psychology award too — I’m still baffled by that one. My partner says he gets it.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
How much fun life is.
In 1987 my friends, who had already moved here, set me up with a job and an apartment. I have the best friends on the planet.