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The antics of outrage

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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.
800-494-TIXS
theaterj.org

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Bars & Parties

KINETIC: Pride DC launches with 3 major events

Weekend kicks off Friday with UNCUT XL at BLISS

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KINETIC: Pride DC will partner with Capital Pride Alliance to celebrate Pride month with three official events that will feature leading gay DJs: Abel, Ben Bakson, Joe Pacheco, Dan Slater and Alexis Tucci.

The weekend kicks off Friday, June 10 at 10 p.m. with UNCUT XL at BLISS Nightclub. Grammy-nominated DJ Abel will headline the city’s “most risqué circuit event of the year” at BLISS nightclub.

“Uncut is returning to DC Pride for the first time in four years so there will be lots of sweating, dancing, and men bumping and sliding into one another on the main floor as well as in the play zone,” said producer Jesus Quispe in a press release late May.

 KINETIC: Pride Galactic Edition will be on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. at Echostage. DJs Dan Slater and Ben Bakson will perform back-to-back sets. DJ Joe Pacheco will open the night.

The series of events will wrap up on Sunday June 12 with DC Pride’s official closing party, “discoVERS” at 10 p.m. at SAX in Downtown D.C. Disco-diva Alexis Tucci will spin an open-to-close set with Disco, Nu-Disco, and Disco House music all night long. Special performances throughout the night will be integrated into her high-energy disco set as well.

To purchase tickets, visit KINETIC: Pride DC.

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Bars & Parties

Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party

Music provided by DJ Just Different at Union Stage

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R² Productions LLC and Union Stage are teaming up to host  R² Productions’ inaugural “MEGA Dance Party” on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Union Stage at The Wharf.

The event will be a night full of dancing to music by pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna. DJ Just Different will be performing at the event. 

General Admission tickets cost $25 and Premier Plus tickets cost $35. For more information about ticket purchases, visit Union Stage’s website.

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Bars & Parties

Kiki quickly becomes popular LGBTQ destination

New bar on U Street plans summer expansion, patio space

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Kiki, at 915 U St., is already drawing crowds. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

After a New Year’s Eve soft opening, Kiki has become one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in Washington, D.C.

The two-floor bar takes over the space vacated by Velvet Lounge and Dodge City on the 900 block of U Street. Both closed during the pandemic. The locale is directly adjacent to another gay bar, Dirty Goose.

Owner and gay man Keaton Fedak, a general manager at Dirty Goose, noticed that these two next-door bars had gone dark during the pandemic, and met with the owners of the two buildings, who are cousins. Plans quickly developed to use both buildings to craft an expansive, interconnected, inclusive space to transform the city’s gay bar landscape.

Fedak called the bar “Kiki” both after himself (it’s a nickname) and for its connection with the LGBTQ community. “The word wasn’t invented by the Scissor Sisters song,” he explains. “It’s been an important concept in the community for decades.”

The first half of Fedak’s vision has already opened. The ground floor of the 915 U St. building is open-plan space with bar stools and a color-block wall of rainbow panels. A bar sits in the back up a short flight of stairs. This level will feature music, but quieter than the second-floor space. There, a DJ booth presides over a large dance floor. Disco lights flood this space; there is a bar on this level as well. The elevated dance floor is set to hold drag shows.

In the spring, a small patio will open, strung with fairy lights. It will have a “backyard aesthetic,” he says, to be green, bright, and relaxing. “It’s a good place to chill on a nice day outside.” It may even be reminiscent of Town Danceboutique’s popular patio.

The second half, at 917 U St., is still waiting for permits, and Fedak hopes to open this section in the summer.

It will connect to the current space via the outdoor patio. This section will have more of a sports bar feel, given Fedak’s connection to D.C.’s Gay Flag Football League (he is a former board member). The bar will welcome Stonewall Sports and other LGBTQ sports teams, and will be replete with plenty of mounted TVs to show various games.

After the closing of Cobalt and Town, Fedak wanted to ensure that Kiki was “an inclusive space, so that there’s vibes for everyone,” he says. “It should be a place where regulars would just show up and hang out.” He made sure that he recruited staff from different professional and personal backgrounds.

Fedak began working in food and hospitality at age 17 in his hometown in Pennsylvania. After moving to the D.C. area for work, he continued to moonlight as a bartender. Fedak joined Dirty Goose as general manager in 2019 before starting his Kiki journey.

To stock the bar, Fedak has plenty of spirits to go around. There is a focus on the vodka offerings, but he ensures that local distilleries take center stage: He carries District Made Vodka and Rye Whiskey, as well as Green Hat Gin. The beer game is also a winning strategy: there are more than 25 bottles and cans available, with three beers on tap. Local options are first-string, including selections from DC Brau, Right Proper, and Anxo Cider. Finally, the bar comes complete with a house margarita on tap (“ it’s a homemade recipe,” notes Fedak, using agave nectar syrup instead of sugar). The 16-ounce marg is always on special for $10.

While Kiki doesn’t serve food, Fedak is exploring options for a small truck or stand in the backyard.
Moving forward, Kiki will host weekly events. The bar already hosts drag shows during “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties. Fedak plans to begin a “Cobalt-style underwear contest” as well. Once COVID cases decline, he also wants to resurrect the Sunday funday parties that Cobalt would host with sports teams.

Fedak’s mantra for Kiki is evident in the mural that will take up the backyard patio – a quote from “Schitt’s Creek”: “I like the wine and not the label.”

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