John Flynn exhibited an early interest and flair at the piano. His parents always had one in the house and at a very young age — though he doesn’t remember this — they say he was picking out Glen Campbell songs by ear.
That knack has led to a lifelong love and a career. He’s had a long career working piano bars in his native Philadelphia and in Rehoboth Beach, Del., where he’s lived for the last six years. On Tuesday nights from now through Christmas, he’s doing his first ever D.C. gigs at Banana Café (500 8th St., S.E.).
Flynn says he plays and sings mostly by ear.
“I’ve gotten a lot better over the years,” he says. “I used to carry two big suitcases of music around with me all the time. I always had a sore back. But now I’m good with just a couple books and there are many nights where I don’t need them at all.”
He says show tunes from musicals like “Chicago,” “Wicked” and “Les Miz” are his most requested numbers. The audiences are pretty much the same all over, though he notices a tad more country requests in Delaware, he says.
Flynn and his partner, Billy Toner, have been together seven years. Flynn enjoys music, movies, reading and dining out in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Thirty years. Definitely my mom (but she knew already). Didn’t have to tell dad, she did.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
In my home state of Pennsylvania, I’m very proud of openly gay State Rep. Brian Sims. His victory is a big step toward more progress; perhaps the White House some day?
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Besides Banana Cafe presently, Dupont Italian Kitchen (aka DIK Bar). But I miss Omega with Gladys Kravitz.
Describe your dream wedding.
Most likely a very private affair, not into a big public wedding. But when and if, there will be a party to follow!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
The environment, protection of wildlife, etc.
What historical outcome would you change?
Many — the start of the AIDS epidemic, 9-11, Bush.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Showing my age, but, I’ll never forget the excitement of the Beatles first appearance on Sullivan.
On what do you insist?
Politeness and manners.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Being at Madame Tussauds in New York.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“My Life IS a Cabaret!”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing. How bland this world would be with only one sexual orientation!
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe there is much more for us to come and this life is only the beginning of our spiritual journey. My grandfather proved that to us when he came out of a coma asking if an old friend had “made it”; his friend’s obituary was in the paper the next morning.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
I think they’re doing a great job and I applaud them; just keep it up!
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family and friends — and possibly a paid vacation; I’ve never had one!
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That gay men have good fashion sense; some do, some do not.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Tales of The City” — love the books, love the movies!
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That everyone has insecurities. That being who you are is a wonderful thing and all who truly love you always will.
D.C. has so much to offer, and it’s closer than New York!