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The antics of outrage



Judy Gold is in unfamiliar surroundings.

“Where the fuck is the remote?” she says with her trademark semi-mock outrage. “Why can’t I find the fucking remote?”

The 47-year-old stand-up comedian is in a Washington hotel room and just back from a Whole Foods run before heading off to a tech rehearsal at Theater J for her new one-woman show, “Judy Gold is Mommy Queerest!” And she can’t find a thing.

After answering a few questions about the show, her answers liberally sprinkled with f-bombs, the frustration returns.

“I have no utensils,” she says mid-sentence. “There are no fucking utensils in this room. Oh here they are.” But the joy of finding them disappears in less than a second. “There’s like a fork and a spoon and that’s it,” she growls.

The negativity might be unbearable were it not tempered by Gold’s wit. Somehow one senses, even in her pissiest moments, she’s not really that annoyed. Some of it’s her shtick and, in a way, her charm. Feigned indignant behavior, after all, is a hallmark of many a standup.

Gold calls “Queerest,” “pretty much the story of my life, of how I became a comic and my addiction to family sitcoms.” It’s been in previews this week but officially debuts Saturday with Sunday’s 7:30 p.m. performance featuring an opening night reception. The Theater J production, its second, runs through Jan. 3 at the D.C. JCC.

“The Brady Bunch,” Gold says, is her “favorite of all time,” but also mentions “The Partridge Family,” “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “Room 222.” She briefly considers naming “Mary Tyler Moore” her “all-time favorite,” but quickly realizes it’s too tough a call to make.

“I can’t even say,” she says. “Basically any family that wasn’t mine was my favorite. … They’re like members of your family. So there I am laying on the carpeting in a dream world watching and this show kind of tells the story of that.”

But “Mommy” has other dreams, too. Gold says though she loves live theater, she remains dumbfounded that she hasn’t landed her own sitcom.

“Here I am 47 years old and I don’t have my own show. Why the fuck don’t I have my own show? I have no fucking idea.”

With two Emmys she won for writing and producing “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” on the bookshelf of the New York apartment she shares with her two sons (8 and 13), Gold has no trouble setting pitch meetings with network execs. And they always go well, she says.

“Once I’m in the meeting and they’re cracking up and you believe they’re thinking how could they not, but then they don’t. I have them cracking up for a half hour, but of course it’s always the same shit. America’s not ready for a gay family.”

Gold insists the show would be autobiographical. Citing her two kids, her ex who lives in the same building, her annoying mother and her therapist girlfriend, her life, she says, is perfect sitcom fodder. She also thinks it could break down barriers for gays in a Norman Lear kind of way.

If America could watch a family in which they could see themselves except for the fact that it was gay, Gold says, the marriage issue would be solved in a few years by a cultural attitude shift. Gold remembers how much she was shaped by the sitcom families she watched as a kid and dreams of having that kind of influence.

So does stand up and theater satisfy some of that itch? She says yes, calling live theater “the greatest thing in the world.” But the simple fact is it never reaches as many people as TV can.

But for now, Gold is making do with what she has and it’s going well. “Mommy,” which debuted in Montreal in July, has garnered mixed reviews but nearly all critics have confessed it’s undeniably funny. Substantial tweaking and re-writing has preceded its D.C. premiere to the point that Gold now calls it a “completely different show,” even in the last month. One big change was the addition of Kate Moira Ryan, who co-wrote Gold’s last show, “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,” which had a 2008 D.C. run. When Gold started writing “Mommy,” Ryan was busy with other projects but as the project gestated, Ryan became an essential collaborator again.

Gold takes Fridays off for Shabbat. She says being Jewish is part of who is she though she doesn’t “believe every detail of it.”
“I try to take all the good things from it,” she says.

Equally factoring into her persona, of course, is her out-and-proud lesbianism. She’s been out professionally for well over a decade and says she can’t believe America is still having a debate about same-sex marriage.

“I can’t imagine telling anyone they cannot love another person and their relationship is not equal,” she says.

‘Judy Gold is Mommy Queerest!’
Saturday at 8, Sunday at 3 and 7:30 p.m. and additional performances through Jan. 3
$30 to $55 (half-price tickets available for 35 and younger)
D.C. JCC’s Goldman Theater
1529 16th Street, N.W.

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Bars & Parties

Blade’s summer closing party set for Sept. 17 in Rehoboth

Benefits journalism scholarship



Rehoboth Beach Museum, Joe Maggio Realty, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Washington Blade’s 15-year tradition of hosting a summer kickoff party in Rehoboth Beach was disrupted due to COVID restrictions. In lieu of that May event, the Blade is hosting a summer closing party on Friday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at The Pines (56 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). 

Tickets are $20, which includes two drinks and appetizers. The event benefits the Blade Foundation’s Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, a 12-week program in which an LGBTQ student journalist covers stories of interest to Delaware’s queer community each summer. 

All COVID safety protocols will be followed, including a requirement that attendees furnish proof of vaccination to gain entry. 

If you are unable to attend you can make a donation to the Blade Foundation at Sponsors of the event include Delmarva Power and The Pines.

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Bars & Parties

Rehoboth to close out summer with SunFest

Series of events to replace long-running Sundance due to pandemic



This year’s Sundance in Rehoboth is renamed SunFest and will look different from this scene in 2019 due to the pandemic. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

SunFest will feature a week of live performances, dances, and a live auction, sponsored by non-profit LGBTQ+ center CAMP Rehoboth.

The weeklong festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 and is a change from the annual SunDance that CAMP Rehoboth has sponsored since 1988. This transformation began last year when the event was forced to go digital due to the coronavirus and the in-person events scheduled this year are important, according to development director and co-coordinator of SunFest Anita Broccolino.

“We love that community feel and the in-person makes all the difference in the world for us. Not being able to do it last year just reminded everyone how important we all are to one another,” Broccolino said. “I think that bringing back these events this year is just huge for us and it will be extra celebratory as a result.”

The festival begins with a 5k race and online auction opening on Sunday. Monday night features a give-back event at Iron Hill Brewery while Tuesday’s agenda is still to be determined, said Broccolino. Diego’s will host a Studio 54 give-back dance party on Wednesday and Thursday is the Port 251 women’s give-back. 

Live performances featuring the Skivvies, Randy Harrison and Diane Huey are scheduled for Friday night and Jennifer Holiday will follow with a performance on Saturday night, both at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. The festival closes out Sunday with auction pick-ups and Fun in the Sand and Sun, according to the CAMP Rehoboth website.

This event is also important to the organization’s contributions to the community, said Broccolino.

“The essential services we provide for free to the community, which is a huge amount of health and wellness activities, as well as arts programming, a lot of youth programming and the community counts on us for those things. We never stopped during COVID, we made as much as we could virtual, but we took quite a hit not being able to raise those funds and awareness of the programs,” Broccolino said. “We invite the entire community to come celebrate with us and make it to Rehoboth Beach, and let’s make it joyful, and wonderful and make sure we’re living up to the standards of all the people who helped found CAMP Rehoboth and live up to their legacy and beyond.”

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Arts & Entertainment

Rehoboth Beach welcomes Christopher Peterson back

Drag legend to perform weekly beginning July 4



Christopher Peterson, drag, gay news, Washington Blade
Drag legend Christopher Peterson. (Photo courtesy Peterson)

Christopher Peterson will celebrate 25 years of performing his brilliant show EYECONS when he brings it back to Rehoboth Beach this summer. He will be at Clear Space Theatre every Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m. from July 4 to Sept. 5.

I have seen the show a number of times over the years from when he performed at the Renegade showroom (youngsters may not remember the Renegade out on the highway) to now at the Clear Space Theatre, so I am biased in saying it is always worth the price of a ticket. In fact it is worth a lot more because Christopher is an amazing talent. In addition to his own show he can be seen in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” at Clear Space.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Christopher. He has lived in Key West, Fla., for years and performs there during the winter and when he isn’t booked around the country. Christopher told me he was born Moncton, New Brunswick but grew up in Halifax (actually Dartmouth across the harbor) Nova Scotia, Canada 58 years ago.

We talked about gay life today and I asked him when he came out and he responded: “in the womb.” He told me he always knew who he was even before he knew you could call it gay. He told me he was lucky and grew up in a family that always accepted him for who he was. I asked him if he was excited about coming back to Rehoboth and he told me he sometimes thought of this as his final ‘widow tour’ as it is his first time back at the beach since he lost the love of his life, James Mill, in September of 2019. They were together for 35 years and James was not only his partner in life but in business. Many in Rehoboth knew James and will miss seeing him at Christopher’s side. He was a beautiful man.

Christopher has been called North America’s greatest female impersonator and though I haven’t seen all of them, I have seen enough to thoroughly concur with that. He not only impersonate the characters, he seems to become them. He never lip-syncs but sings their songs and talks in their voice. Christopher once said his only vocal training was in high school and in church choirs but you would never know that when listening to him sing. Christopher also designs all of his own costumes and they are incredible. It’s amazing how quickly he can change from Marilyn Monroe and become Cher with just a new gown and new wig that he has stashed in the closet at the side of the stage. The transformation is mesmerizing.

Over the years he has impersonated so many iconic women, including Marilyn Monroe, Carol Channing, Madonna, Joan Rivers, Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Cher, Bette Davis, and Lucille Ball. He will add a new character once in a while if he feels comfortable having tried them out — one being Lady Gaga.

I asked him if he has a favorite character and he said, “That’s like asking me if I have a favorite child. These are all my children and they each represent something special to me.” He said, “as an example Streisand is the voice and Garland is the heart.” I remember he was once quoted as saying Judy Garland is his favorite to do and since he told me she represents the heart it didn’t surprise me as Christopher has a big heart. He often saves her for the end of the show and when you see her you leave wanting more.

I asked Christopher about the weirdest thing that ever happened during his show. He told me the story about an evening during the show, when he talks with an audience member, he leaned over the stage and began to chat with a table on the right of the stage and asked an older gentleman, Christopher called him Mary, how he liked the show. After saying he loved it the next thing Christopher saw was Mary keeling over. Turns out he had a heart attack. Christopher said he told the audience there would be a pause in the show and asked if there was a doctor in the house. One came forward and attended to the man and called 911. The gentleman seemed to recover and after they took him out on a stretcher the show went on. Christopher said this has happened more than once at his shows. Maybe it’s the excitement.

I asked him if any of the women he impersonates have been to see the show and was surprised when he said no. I would think any of those still alive would be honored to see how Christopher does them and shows them off so well.

This will be an exciting summer in Rehoboth and Christopher is prepared for visitors to come to the show and still follow any restrictions in effect for the pandemic. The theater has said it will continue to abide by all COVID restrictions in order to ensure the safety of both the actors and the audience. Clear Space Theatre has been doing this all winter and doing it safely.

I urge anyone who has never seen Christopher Peterson to get your tickets early as anyone who has seen him will be buying tickets to his shows and you don’t want to miss this chance to have a great fun evening in the theater.

Christopher Peterson as Lucille Ball. (Photo courtesy Peterson)

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