Maryland – Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights http://www.washingtonblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Tue, 18 Sep 2018 19:24:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Hogan to attend Log Cabin Republicans national dinner http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/12/hogan-to-attend-log-cabin-republicans-national-dinner/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/12/hogan-to-attend-log-cabin-republicans-national-dinner/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 02:37:36 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=47750212 Incumbent Md. governor to face Benjamin Jealous in November

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Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

Log Cabin Republicans on Sept. 12, 2018, announced Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will attend its annual Spirit of Lincoln Dinner next month in D.C. (Photo by Maryland GovPics; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Log Cabin Republicans on Wednesday announced Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will attend its annual dinner that is scheduled to take place in D.C. on Oct. 2.

An email that Log Cabin Republicans sent to its supporters describes Hogan as a “special guest.” The email also notes Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will deliver the keynote address.

Hogan, who took office in 2015, will face off against former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous in November.

A poll that Gonzales Research and Media Services conducted last month found Hogan is ahead of Jealous by a 52-36 percent margin. The Washington Post on Aug. 27 reported Hogan’s re-election campaign account has $9.3 million, compared to the $385,000 the Jealous campaign has on hand.

Hogan in May signed into law a bill that bans so-called conversion therapy to minors in Maryland.

Hogan before his 2014 election said he would not seek to repeal Maryland’s same-sex marriage law that voters upheld two years earlier.

Hogan specifically mentioned sexual orientation — but not gender identity — in his first executive order that outlined ethic standards for executive branch employees. He later signed an amended version of the mandate that included transgender-specific language.

Two pro-LGBT bills — one that allows trans Marylanders to change their name and gender on their birth certificates without surgery and another that ensures lesbian couples have equal access to fertility treatments — became law in 2015 without Hogan’s signature.

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QUEERY: John Paradiso http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/29/queery-john-paradiso/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/29/queery-john-paradiso/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:02:21 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46916683 The ‘Queer(ing) Pleasure’ artist answers 20 gay questions

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John Paradiso, gay news, Washington Blade

John Paradiso (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

For artist John Paradiso, the desire to create is different from what you might think.

“Making art in my studio is one of the only places where no one can tell me what to do,” the 56-year-old Albany, N.Y., native says. “And it’s the only place I feel comfortable making mistakes.”

Three vintage self portraits and two contemporary embroidery pieces by the artist are featured in “Queer(ing) Pleasure,” a new exhibit at the District of Columbia Arts Center (2438 18th St., N.W.). An opening reception is slated for Friday, Sept. 7 from 7-9 p.m. The show runs through Sunday, Oct. 14 when a closing reception and panel discussion will be held.

The exhibit, curated by Andy Johnson, illustrates the “radical queer potential of pleasure, challenging the too-often limited, white, hetero-centric logic of the erotic,” its press release states. “Through performance, photography, embroidery, video and sculpture, the artists trace new and existing networks between pleasure, erotics and queerness.” Details at dcartscenter.org.

Paradiso’s photos are from the late 1980s, when he says his artistic focus was on risk and love.

“My partner at the time was a person living with AIDS and we had many friends who were sick and/or dying from AIDS-related illnesses during that time,” Paradiso says.

The two embroidery pieces were taken from old porn magazines and hand stitched and left in their stitching hoops. Paradiso says they’re “more about identity and masculinity.”

Johnson selected the pieces from Paradiso’s collection. It’s Paradiso’s first exhibit with the D.C. Arts Center.

Paradiso, who came to Washington 16 years ago with his partner, Tom Hill, makes most of his art in a small studio a block from his house though he also has pieces he can work on anywhere.

“I often travel with works in progress, so if I’m visiting my mom, I can sit there and stitch while we hang out.”

He considers art his primary work but says it’s not commercial enough, so he also has outside employment. He’s the resident artist and curator at Portico Gallery and Studios in the Gateway Arts District. He manages five visual art studios and a small gallery space there. Find out more about him at john-paradiso.com.

Paradiso lives in Brentwood, Md. He enjoys cooking and nature in his free time.

 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

I came out in 1984. The hardest person to tell was my girlfriend. The worst person to tell was my dad.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

There are many but I guess I would have to say Larry Kramer.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?

 I have no idea. I’m a real homebody.

Describe your dream wedding. 

If and when I get married, City Hall with Gabrielle, my girlfriend from college, as our witness.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

Women’s right to choose.

What historical outcome would you change? 

What we did to our indigenous people and then slavery.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? 

Personally when I saw “Torch Song Trilogy” on Broadway in the late ’80s.

On what do you insist? 

Value artists.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

We just rescued the cutest puppy and I have been posting many pictures of her.

 

If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

“Honoring my Feminine Side While Striving to be More Masculine”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? 

See if it could make me gayer. I wish I liked musicals more.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?  

A power greater than myself; actually many powers greater than myself.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Include everyone. And when you think you have, look around and find those that have not been included.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Love

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

That all gay men are limp-wristed when only the really special ones are.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

High fives

What trophy or prize do you most covet?  

A Guggenheim Fellowship (I’m not even good enough to apply)

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?  

That I would live this long and this well.

 

Why Washington? 

My partner got a job here and I would follow him anywhere.

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3rd arrest made in murder of D.C. lesbian http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/29/3rd-arrest-made-murder-kerrice-lewis/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/29/3rd-arrest-made-murder-kerrice-lewis/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2018 13:29:58 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46912707 Latest suspect was in custody for death of victim’s friend

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Kerrice Lewis, gay news, Washington Blade

Kerrice Lewis (Photo courtesy of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department)

D.C. police on Tuesday night announced they have arrested a third suspect in the Dec. 28, 2017 shooting death of lesbian Kerrice Lewis, 23, who investigators believe was kidnapped and killed as part of a conspiracy by three men in retaliation for her association with a man the suspects believed killed one of their friends.

Police identified the latest of the three suspects as Malique Lewis, 20, of Southeast D.C., who was charged on Tuesday with first-degree murder while armed. A police spokesperson told the Washington Blade that Malique Lewis and Kerrice Lewis were not related.

Malique Lewis’ arrest for Kerrice Lewis’ murder followed the Aug. 22 arrest Marcel Vines, 22, of Southeast D.C. and the Feb. 11 arrest Ashton Briscoe, 23, also of Southeast D.C. on charges of first-degree murder while armed in connection with Lewis’ death. All three men are being held without bond.

At the time of Briscoe’s arrest in February, D.C. police said they had no evidence to indicate Kerrice Lewis was targeted because of her sexual orientation.

The police statement announcing Malique Lewis’ arrest says he was transported to the D.C. Homicide Branch office from the Prince George’s County Jail, where he had been held since Jan. 9 for the murder of D.C. resident Armani Nico Coles.

Coles, 27, whom police say was a friend and associate of Kerrice Lewis, was allegedly shot to death by Malique Lewis less than two hours before Kerrice Lewis was killed. A police arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court earlier this year says ballistics tests show that Coles and Kerrice Lewis were both fatally shot with the same .45 caliber pistol.

In an Aug. 7 affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court in support of Vines’ arrest, D.C. police homicide detective Brian Wise stated that evidence obtained by investigators shows that “probable cause exists to believe that Marcel Vines, Malique Lewis and Ashton Briscoe knowingly and willfully conspired and agreed to kill Armani Coles and Kerrice Lewis, and knowingly and willfully participated in the homicide of Armani Coles and Kerrice Lewis within Washington, D.C.”

In a separate criminal complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court three days earlier Wise stated, “On or about December 28, 2017, within the District of Columbia, Malique Lewis, Marcel Vines, and at least one other person known to law enforcement, did knowingly and willfully combine, conspire, confederate and agree together to kidnap, shoot and kill Armani Coles and Kerrice Lewis in violation of Title 22, District of Columbia Code Sections 1810, 2101, and 4502 (Conspiracy to Committee First Degree Murder While Armed).”

Police charging documents state that Kerrice Lewis’ body was found in the trunk of her burning car in an alley off of the 800 block of Adrian Street, S.E., at approximately 7:18 p.m., about an hour after Coles’ body was found on the road of I-295 just across the D.C. line in P.G. County. The charging documents say at least one witness told D.C. police that Coles’ body was dumped out of a car occupied by at least two men.

Investigators later learned that the car was a vehicle that Coles had rented a few days prior to his murder, leading investigators to believe that he and Kerrice Lewis were each abducted and killed most likely by the three suspects inside their own cars.

The affidavit says Kerrice Lewis was shot at least 13 times while in the trunk of her car prior to suffering severe burns after her car was set on fire. An autopsy conducted by the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office found that the cause of death was the gunshot wounds rather than burns from the fire.

According to the charging documents, D.C. homicide detectives learned from multiple witnesses and cell phone records that Coles and Kerrice Lewis were friends or “associates” of Dennis Whitaker, 23, of Northeast D.C., who was charged with the Feb. 28 murder of Ronzay Green. Green was found shot to death in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at 950 Eastern Ave., N.E. about 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 28.

Investigators have said in charging documents that Green, in turn, was a friend and associate of the three men now charged with Kerrice Lewis and Armani Coles’ murders – Malique Lewis, Ashton Briscoe and Marcel Vines.

The charging documents don’t say which or how many of the three men arrested for the two murders shot the two victims. Under D.C.’s’ criminal code, anyone who aids and abets the commission of a murder or is part of a conspiracy or plan to murder someone can be legally charged with the murder, even if they were not the person who fired a gun or used another means to kill the victim.

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2nd arrest made in D.C. murder of lesbian found in burning car http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/23/2nd-arrest-made-in-d-c-murder-of-lesbian-found-in-burning-car/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/23/2nd-arrest-made-in-d-c-murder-of-lesbian-found-in-burning-car/#respond Thu, 23 Aug 2018 11:18:36 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46559342 Death linked to two other killings on same day in Dec. 2017

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Ashton Briscoe, gay news, Washington Blade, Kerrice Lewis

Ashton Briscoe was arrested in February and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of lesbian Kerrice Lewis. A second man, Marcel Vines of D.C., was arrested this week in the murder. (Photo courtesy P.G. County State’s Attorney’s Office)

D.C. police on Wednesday announced they have arrested a second suspect in the Dec. 28, 2017 shooting death of lesbian Kerrice Lewis, 23, whose body was found in the trunk of her burning car in an alley off of the 800 block of Adrian Street in Southeast Washington.

Police identified the second suspect as 22-year-old Marcel Vines of Southeast D.C., who has been charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with Lewis’ death.

The announcement says police transported Vines from the D.C. jail to the Homicide Branch office where he was placed under arrest, but it doesn’t say why he was in jail prior to his arrest on Wednesday and doesn’t provide additional details on how investigators linked him to Lewis’ murder.

Police and prosecutors were expected to disclose that information in charging documents to be filed on Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, where Vines was scheduled to appear for an arraignment.

His arrest took place six months after police charged the first suspect, Ashton Briscoe, 23, of Northeast D.C., with first-degree murder while armed in Lewis’ death.

At the time of Briscoe’s arrest police said they had no evidence to indicate Lewis was targeted because of her sexual orientation. But police and charging documents for Briscoe’s arrest said Lewis knew and was possibly friends with two young men who were shot and killed on the same day she was killed and whose murders are believed to be linked to Lewis’ murder.

A nine-page criminal complaint filed in court following Briscoe’s arrest says one of the two men was fatally shot with the same gun used to shoot and kill Lewis based on ballistics evidence obtained by homicide investigators.

The complaint says that after homicide detectives presented Briscoe with evidence that his cell phone was in the area where Lewis was murdered he confessed to being at that location as the driver of a car used to drive two other suspects in the case away from the scene of the murder.

The complaint says Briscoe insisted he did not shoot Lewis. It says he told detectives he heard gunshots fired after the two other male suspects, who drove to the scene in another car and who he followed in the car he was driving, drove their car into the alley and got out of the other car. The complaint says police later learned that the car the other two suspects drove to the scene turned out to be Lewis’s car. Lewis was a resident of Hyattsville, Md.

According to the complaint, Briscoe said the two suspects returned to the car he was driving and directed him to drive them away from the scene as flames engulfed Lewis’ car where her body was found in the trunk.

An autopsy conducted by the Office of the D.C. Medical Examiner found that Lewis died from 15 gunshot wounds and not from burns she suffered from the fire, the complaint says.

The complaint says Briscoe identified the two male suspects whom he says he drove from the scene but it only discloses the name of one of them, Malique Nathan Lewis, 20, of Southeast D.C. Prince George’s County police on Jan. 9 charged Malique Lewis, a resident of Southeast D.C., with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Armani Nico Coles, 27, who is one of the two victims killed on the same day as Lewis’ murder who police said was an acquaintance of Lewis.

The police charging documents do not say whether Malique Lewis and Kerrice Lewis are related.

The complaint says Kerrice Lewis was a known “associate” of Dennis Whitaker, 23, of Northeast D.C., who was arrested by D.C. police on Dec. 31 for the shooting death of the other victim killed on the day Kerrice Lewis was killed, Ronzay Green. Green was shot to death in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store at 950 Eastern Ave., N.E. at 11:20 a.m. on Dec. 28, police charging documents say.

Although the criminal complaint for Briscoe’s arrest doesn’t say so directly, it suggests that the motive for Kerrice Lewis’ murder may have been revenge for her association with Whitaker, who is charged with killing Green. Briscoe and the two men he drove from the scene of Lewis’ murder may have been part of a rival faction associated with the Clay Terrace housing complex in Northeast D.C., which has been known as a location for youth gangs.

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QUEERY: Jeanette ‘MsNightLyfe’ Ferrell http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/22/queery-jeanette-msnightlyfe-ferrell/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/22/queery-jeanette-msnightlyfe-ferrell/#respond Wed, 22 Aug 2018 19:19:47 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46516283 The local poet/author answers 20 gay questions

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Jeanette 'MsNightLyfe' Ferrell, gay news, Washington Blade

Jeanette ‘MsNightLyfe’ Ferrell (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Jeanette “MsNightLyfe” Ferrell says poetry chose her rather than the other way around.

“Poetry got into me when I began to self destruct,” the 39-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, native says. “It shattered everything I thought I was and showed me the light within. Poetry is my place of peace.”

Ferrell says most of her poems are written and never shared while some are performed and published via her blog and various books she’s had published. Ferrell also writes for local and national magazines and also writes novels and short stories. She calls poetry her “second full-time job.”

Ferrell earned her nickname when she started writing. Her main subjects were nightclubs and indie artists so she was always out visiting nightlife hot spots.

Her book “Reclaiming My Time” was released last summer, a practical guide to self care written for women of color. Ferrell calls it a “call to action to take care of yourself before assisting others.”

“It’s had an exceptional response,” Ferrell says. “It’s been used at women’s empowerment seminars, self-care workshops and women’s organizations at a couple of colleges.”

Ferrell blogs at sweettoothmedia.com and will host “Femme Fatale: Healing He(ART),” a workshop on Sept. 21. Visit her website for more information.

Ferrell, a lesbian, works by day as an academic enrichment coordinator. She came to the area two years ago for marriage and a new job. She and partner TJ live in Fort Washington, Md. She enjoys writing, traveling, meditation and wine in her free time.

 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

I came out at the age of 17 (22 years ago). The hardest person to tell was my father.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Nikki Giovanni

 

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

Wicked Bloom Mondays and A2Zee Friday happy hours at Decades.

 

Describe your dream wedding. 

An intimate island wedding at sunset.

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

Black Lives Matter and education.

 

What historical outcome would you change? 

Slavery would never have existed.

 

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? 

Beyonce’s “Lemonade”

 

On what do you insist? 

That people buy and read my book, “Reclaiming My Time.”

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

An invite to a cruise that I’m featured on next summer.

 

If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

“May the Odds Forever Be in Your Favor”

 

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you

do? 

Nothing, I am fabulous just as I am. They say God makes no mistakes.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

In a multidimensional universe.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Remain visible and vigilant.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

To pay off my student loan debt

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

That lesbians move really fast. (U-Haul)

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar”

 

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Recording trauma on cell phones.

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

My Tagg Magazine Enterprising Woman of the Year award and Teacher of the Year award

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

I wished I would have known then to keep working toward my goals, without cessation or breaks.

 

Why Washington? 

It’s the nation’s capital and love called me. The diversity is amazing here and it has done wonders for my art form.

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Restaurant Week continues through Sunday http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/17/restaurant-week-continues-through-sunday/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/17/restaurant-week-continues-through-sunday/#respond Fri, 17 Aug 2018 19:20:47 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46264902 Area specials abound throughout D.C., Md., and Va.

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Metro Washington Restaurant Week, gay news, Washington Blade

Agora is participating in Metro Washington Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy of Agora)

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week runs through Sunday, Aug. 19 at various participating restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. 

More than 250 restaurants will offer special menus. Restaurant week prices are $22 lunch, $22 brunch and $35 dinner. Participating restaurants include Birch and Barley, City Winery D.C., District Commons, Hank’s Pasta Bar and many more. 

For more information, visit ramw.org/restaurantweek. 

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John Waters teases ‘Polyester’ reissue http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/16/john-waters-teases-polyester-reissue/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/16/john-waters-teases-polyester-reissue/#respond Thu, 16 Aug 2018 21:52:20 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46214713 Baltimore native claims no children were hurt making his films

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Polyester movie, gay news, Washington Blade

John Waters, Divine and Tab Hunter on the set of ‘Polyester’ in 1981. The camp classic will be reissued in a deluxe DVD and Blu-ray edition by The Criterion Collection in 2019. (Blade archives photo courtesy New Line Cinema)

“Polyester” is the next John Waters movie that will be released on DVD and Blu-ray and the Baltimore-based filmmaker is hoping an updated version of his Odorama card will go along with it.

“I want to add the 11th Odorama odor: Wig odor,” Waters told an audience in New York City at a Q&A last month. “glue and sweat.”

Appearing at the IFC Center for sold-out screenings of “Hairspray” and “Female Trouble,” Waters confirmed that “Polyester” will be restored and distributed in 2019 as part of The Criterion Collection, following re-releases of “Multiple Maniacs” and “Female Trouble.”

“They are going to do ‘Polyester’ next year, so I am excited about that,” Waters said. “They are a Class A company. I think they do an absolutely beautiful job.”

“Polyester,” starring Divine and Tab Hunter (sadly, both now dead), tells the story of suburban house frau Francine Fishpaw (Divine), stuck in a dreary marriage, and how her life changes after she meets dashing Todd Tomorrow (Hunter). Filmed in Greater Lutherville for $300,000 and released in 1981, it was part of Waters’ suburbia-based “Trash Trilogy,” along with “Hairspray” and “Cry Baby.”

“Polyester” became known for its Odorama card, which contained 10 scents that movie goers could scratch and sniff as they watched. They ranged from air freshener and roses to smelly sneakers and flatulence. Inspired by the Smell-O-Vision device from the 1960 movie “Scent of Mystery,” the Odorama card was touted with the lines: “It’ll blow your nose!” and “Smelling is Believing.”

Other original smells were: model airplane glue, pizza, gasoline, skunk, natural gas and new car smell. Glue was taken off the card when a LaserDisc version was released.

“Polyester” received positive reviews from critics such as The New York Times’ Janet Maslin.

“Ordinarily, Mr. Waters is not everyone’s cup of tea, but ‘Polyester’ … is not Mr. Waters’ ordinary movie,” Maslin wrote. “This time, the comic vision is so controlled and steady that Mr. Waters need not rely so heavily on the grotesque touches that make his other films such perennial favorites on the weekend Midnight Movie circuit. Here’s one that can just as well be shown in the daytime.”

Known as the “Pope of Trash” and “Sultan of Sleaze,” the openly gay filmmaker came to New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Hairspray” and the 2018 re-release of “Female Trouble.” He had appeared the week before at a “Hairspray” screening and cast reunion in Los Angeles.

At the New York event, moderated by the entertainment writer Michael Musto, Waters was joined by Leslie Ann Powers, the actress who played Penny Pingleton; Joann Havrilla, who played Prudence Pingleton; and Holter Graham, who played I. Q. Jones. Waters said he hadn’t seen Powers in decades and thought she was hiding in the “‘Hairspray’ witness protection program.”

The filmmaker said “Hairspray,” which follows teenager Tracy Turnblad’s efforts to integrate a TV dance show in the 1960s, is “the gift that keeps on giving,” because there have been so many versions of it.

“I say it’s radical because it snuck up on Middle America,” Waters said. “Even racists like it. I’ve been paid to write the sequel two times. There’s been talk of ‘Hairspray on Ice,’ ‘Hairspray in Space.’ What’s left?”

The running joke in the movie is that the 300-pound drag actor Divine, who died in 1988 and played Tracy’s mother Edna, is actually a man but no one knows it except the audience.

In real life, Divine “had no desire to be a woman,” Waters said. “He wanted to be Godzilla. …We created Divine to scare hippies.”

Born Harris Glenn Milstead, Divine off-screen was nothing like Divine onscreen, Waters noted. “He was a kind, gentle man who was a pothead and liked to eat.”

Though he and Divine were good friends, Waters said, Divine eventually wanted to do more than John Waters movies, especially after the scene in “Pink Flamingos” where he ate dog poop.

“He got weary of being with me … because people couldn’t get over the whole eating-shit thing,” Waters said. “He got so sick of talking about that. … He wanted to get away from me and do things without me.”

During a separate Q&A session following the “Female Trouble” screening, Waters reported that none of the child actors in his movies was traumatized by the experience.

“All the kids in my movies turned out fine,” he said. “The little girl that I locked in a refrigerator (in Desperate Living)? She’s fine. … There was nothing weird or anything. They memorized their lines. They’re fine.”

“Female Trouble” focuses on Dawn Davenport (Divine), who turns to a life of crime after she didn’t get cha cha heels for Christmas, kills her daughter Taffy and ends up frying in the electric chair.

Waters said he originally wanted Divine to play both the mother and daughter but concluded it wouldn’t work because of Divine’s age. Instead, he had Divine play both the mother and the father, which means Divine rapes himself.

The famous line delivered by the late Edith Massey: “the world of the heterosexual is a sick and boring life,” had a double purpose aside from its comedic punch, Waters said.

“That was market testing. I wanted to see how many gay people were in the audience.”

Ever the name dropper, Waters said he loves the director Ingmar Bergman because “he had the first puke scene.” He said he met Elizabeth Taylor toward the end of her life and “she looked like Divine.” He said he considered casting Roseanne Barr as the lead in “Serial Mom,” back when she was “a complete liberal,” but eventually chose Kathleen Turner.

Waters said he used to visit courtrooms during criminal trials but can’t anymore “because people recognize me.” He disclosed that Dawn Davenport’s character was inspired in part by Alice Crimmins, a New York woman and Casey Anthony forerunner who was convicted of killing her two children in 1965.

Musto said he had a treat for Waters. “Big surprise,” he said. “Alice is here with us tonight!”

The conversation eventually came down, as it often does, to cha cha heels and Christmas.

Musto asked Waters if the dialogue about them — “Those aren’t the right kind. I told you cha cha heels, black ones!” and “Good girls don’t wear cha cha heels” — aren’t the most quoted lines from a John Waters movie.

Waters said the scene in which the Christmas tree falls over on Dawn’s mother was inspired by a time when a Christmas tree fell on his grandmother.

“I remember the handyman screaming, the maid crying and me being, ‘Is my present hurt?’ She wasn’t injured, but I was obsessed by it.”

He said a lot of his fans seem to have stories about falling Christmas trees.

“It’s usually dogs or liquor.”

Waters said his family always had real trees when he was growing up, never artificial, and his mother frowned on those who decorated with multi-colored lights.

“She was all white lights,” he said. “She would go around the neighborhood and look in windows” and make disparaging remarks about families with multi-colored lights.

Waters marvels that his movies are so embraced today since mainstream studios shunned them initially.

The Criterion Collection, which will distribute “Polyester,” is affiliated with Warner Brothers, one of the largest entertainment companies in America.

“Warner Brothers distributes all of mine now,” Waters said. “Who would have imagined?”

More John Waters fun!

Polyester, gay news, Washington Blade

Michael Musto, left, with John Waters in New York on July 27. (Photo by Ed Gunts)

He’s no longer making new movies but there are still ways to enjoy the John Waters sensibility.

John Waters: Indecent Exposure,” billed as the “first major retrospective of Baltimore native John Waters’ visual art,’ opens Oct. 7 at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore) and runs through Jan. 6. The show will “examine the unapologetic cultural force’s influential career through more than 160 pieces of his work dating back to the early 1990s.” Details at artbma.org.

Waters makes his annual trek to the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria) on Thursday, Dec. 20 for “A John Waters Christmas,” his comedy stand-up show. Tickets are $55. Details at birchmere.com.

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Howard County schools dismisses former employees’ discrimination claims http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/07/howard-county-schools-dismisses-former-employees-discrimination-claims/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/07/howard-county-schools-dismisses-former-employees-discrimination-claims/#respond Tue, 07 Aug 2018 18:00:45 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=45777129 Complaint alleges board members made anti-gay comments

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health curriculum, Frederick County School Board, transgender students, gay news, Washington Blade

The Howard County Board of Education has dismissed allegations that some school board members discriminated against three of former Superintendent Renee Foose’s deputies.

The Howard County Board of Education has dismissed allegations that some school board members discriminated against three of former Superintendent Renee Foose’s deputies.

The Baltimore Sun on Aug. 2 reported Cheryl Brower, a human rights investigator, “found reasonable cause to believe some school board members discriminated against” former Director of Staff Relations Tim Thornburg, former Chief Accountability Officer Grace Chesney and former Director of Communications John White. The Baltimore Sun noted Brower reported two school board members made homophobic comments against Chesney and Thornburg.

Foose resigned in May 2017. The Baltimore Sun reported Chesney and White were laid off the following month, while Thornburg resigned.

The Howard County Board of Education in an Aug. 3 statement said the allegations “are part of an employment discrimination claim that has no factual or legal basis.” The statement also notes Thornburg, Chesney and White have all withdrawn their complaints.

“The complainants’ withdrawal denied the board, and individual board members, the opportunity to vindicate itself,” it reads. “Instead, these reports were leaked to the news media.”

“We want the HCPSS (Howard County Public School System) community to know that the complainants’ allegations are false, and that the board categorically disclaims the investigator’s version of events,” adds the statement. “The reports rely on hearsay and the uncorroborated allegations of a few over the testimony of board members and HCPSS staff. We believe that the fact that these complaints have been withdrawn by the former employees is acknowledgement that even they know that their complaints would not stand up to scrutiny. The board is outraged that these false allegations have caused unrest in our community.”

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QUEERY: Chris Jay http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/01/queery-chris-jay/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/01/queery-chris-jay/#respond Wed, 01 Aug 2018 18:59:17 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=45544349 The Queerbook photographer answers 20 gay questions

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Chris Jay, gay news, Washington Blade

Chris Jay (Photo courtesy of Chris Jay)

Chris Jay’s photography career began rather inauspiciously. They (Jay’s requested pronoun) started doing family portraits at JCPenney.

“I was hooked ever since,” they said.

Jay has just started a new venture, a photo project called The Queerbook in which they’ll travel the country taking photos of queer performers of all types — burlesque, drag kings and queens and more, which Jay started shooting about five years ago.

“I decided I needed to do something big to compile and give form to my work and from there, the idea to create a book developed,” the 38-year-old Columbia, Md., native says.

A previous job as a school photographer helped inform the project.

“I wanted to see if I could create a school picture day experience for queer performers,” Jay says. “Performers are so much more than some of us realize.”

The first shoot was held in Baltimore in June. Jay will go to Pittsburgh in early September, then Philadelphia, Seattle, New York and any other city whose performers want to be part of it. It got launched with a Kickstarter campaign and small donations from friends. Jay plans to shoot through 2019.

The project will also encompass podcasts, video interviews and social media to raise awareness of the importance of queer performers and their role in “the advancement of our community.” Jay’s wife Sydney will do the writing. Find out more or make a donation at thequeerbook.com or facebook.com/thequeerbook2019.

Jay also produces shows, works in graphic design, plans events, is active in LGBT advocacy and has a weekly podcast “Coffee with Chris.”

Jay identifies as gender-nonconforming and lives in Baltimore and enjoys watching TV and YouTube videos in their spare time.

 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

Since I was 18 and the hardest person to tell was my mom because I didn’t want her to be disappointed.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

I don’t have a hero. I think we are all putting in work to better our communities.

 

What’s Baltimore’s best nightspot, past or present?

The best place to party was the Hippo. I loved that place. So sad it isn’t around anymore.

 

Describe your dream wedding.

I had my dream wedding in October of last year. We had a drag and burlesque show and it was catered by Popeyes. What more could I ask for?

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

Gun control

 

What historical outcome would you change?

The Trump election

 

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Weezer’s cover of “Africa” by Toto

 

On what do you insist?

I insist that people treat one another with respect and understanding that none of us are perfect.

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“If I did a live stream telethon to raise money for The Queerbook who would come through and be on the show?”

 

If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

“The Ups and Downs of a Black Queer Creative”

 

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? 

Protest

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

I believe that our thoughts are guided by things beyond our understanding. I think the universe has a plan for us as long as we follow our paths.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Make sure your platform is inclusive. I mean really inclusive. Allow people to learn and voice their thoughts and opinions as they can help guide your movement. It isn’t easy; there are a lot of intersections of our community who really feel unheard because they don’t fit in any major labels.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

My wife.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

Assuming that because someone is masculine, they want to date someone more femme.

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“But I’m a Cheerleader”

 

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Networking. People really think they’re more important than they are in those situations.

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

My crown for Baltimore’s King of Pride 2018. It has been a life-changing year.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That I have more power than I know.

 

Why Baltimore?

Baltimore is the realest city I have ever lived in. What you see is what you get. No bullshit.

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Clippinger nominated to chair Md. House Judiciary Committee http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/07/30/clippinger-nominated-to-chair-md-house-judiciary-committee/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/07/30/clippinger-nominated-to-chair-md-house-judiciary-committee/#respond Mon, 30 Jul 2018 14:58:17 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=45467083 Gay Baltimore City Democrat won primary last month

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Luke Clippinger, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, Baltimore, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) has been nominated to chair the House Judiciary Committee. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) has been nominated to become the next chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work alongside the members of the Judiciary Committee as we start to address criminal justice in a more holistic manner,” said Clippinger in an email he sent to his supporters on July 23. “As a representative of Baltimore City, I understand what a crucial moment it is for our community, and believe we can begin to take a more proactive approach to building a safer Maryland.”

The email also contained a statement from House Speaker Mike Busch (D-Anne Arundel County), who nominated Clippinger for the post.

“Criminal justice policy is evolving more rapidly every year and I am pleased to name an experienced practitioner to lead this committee for the next term,” said Busch. “Luke has proven himself time and again as having the ability to work with people from all backgrounds and bring a common sense, forward-thinking approach to policy issues.”

Clippinger, 45, has represented House District 46 since 2011. He is among the handful of openly LGBT members of the Maryland General Assembly.

Clippinger last month won his primary.

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