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10 must-read books for fall

Lambda Literary helps gay book lovers find the season’s gems



Weeding through scores of books set to hit shelves this fall, Antonio Gonzalez, chief editor of, compiled a list of 10 must reads. As he notes, from a few well-known authors (Emma Donoghue), to a relative unknown (Tristan Garcia), to a Grammy winner (Ricky Martin), the fall book line-up is all over the map.

Here are the books (in no particular order) that Gonzalez expects to make a big impact among LGBT literary critics, bookworms and novice readers alike.

1. “Mary Ann in Autumn” by Armistead Maupin (Harper; $25.99) In the eighth installment of Maupin’s Tales of the City series, Mary Ann Singleton (now 57) returns to San Francisco after 20 years with news she can only share with her pal Michael Tolliver — who’s happily married to a younger man. By the way, did you know there’s a musical of the saga coming out next year in San Francisco with a score and lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden of Scissor Sisters? (Nov.)

2. “Hate: A Romance,” by Tristan Garcia, translated by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein (Faber and Faber; $14) Winner of France’s prestigious literary award Prix de Flore, “Hate” is set in Paris in the ’80s and chronicles a group of friends — and the subsequent love affairs that destroy a life. Previously titled “The Best Part of Men,” “Hate” received a tepid review from Publisher’s Weekly, but with its enticing cover, who can resist picking up this new translation? (Oct.)

3. “Inferno (A Poet’s Novel)” by Eileen Myles (OR Books; $16) If the glowing reviews from John Waters, Alison Bechdel and John Ashbery don’t convince you, then perhaps you need to read the first two sentences: “My English professor’s ass was so beautiful. It was perfect and full as she stood at the board writing some important word.” (Nov.)

4. “By Nightfall” by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; $25) Despite making Anis Shivani’s list of “Most Overrated Contemporary Authors,” Cunningham’s talent cannot be overlooked, even when he’s writing about the existential crises of wealthy New Yorkers. (Sep.)

5. “Me” by Ricky Martin (Celebra; $26.95) After fathering twin boys via surrogate and finally coming out, Martin releases his memoir that, according to the press release, takes us through his musical career, the challenges of increased fame, and his “unique personal connection with millions of fans around the world.” (Nov.)

6. “Grant Wood: A Life” by R. Tripp Evans (Knopf; $37.50) The artist behind one of America’s most famous paintings, “American Gothic,” was much more complicated than the image of simple, decent, homespun Americana that his paintings reflected. (Oct.)

7. “Fever of the Bone” by Val McDermid (Harper; $14.99) The sixth in the Tony Hill mystery series, this novel received a starred review and high praise from Publishers Weekly: “McDermid demonstrates once again that she’s as adept with matters of the heart as she is with murder.” (Sept.)

8. “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” by Jonathan D. Katz and David C. Ward (Smithsonian Books; $45) The companion volume to an exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, “Hide/Seek” highlights the often overlooked influence of gay and lesbian artists on American art and portraiture through 140 full-color illustrations, drawings and portraits by leading American artists from Eakins, to O’Keeffe, to Rauschenberg, to Warhol, to Mapplethorpe. (Nov.)

9. “Room” by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown; $24.99) Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Donoghue’s new novel tackles kidnapping, sociopaths and child psychology. (Sept.)

10. “Unbearable Lightness” by Portia de Rossi (Atria; $25.99) De Rossi, as described by, “shares her struggles with eating disorders and her sexuality in this riveting memoir.” Back in February, Portia confirmed her book was “definitely not self-help.” (Nov.)



PHOTOS: Night of Champions

Team DC holds annual awards gala



Team DC President Miguel Ayala speaks at the 2024 Night of Champions Awards on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Team DC, the umbrella organization for LGBTQ-friendly sports teams and leagues in the D.C. area, held its annual Night of Champions Awards Gala on Saturday, April 20 at the Hilton National Mall. The organization gave out scholarships to area LGBTQ student athletes as well as awards to the Different Drummers, Kelly Laczko of Duplex Diner, Stacy Smith of the Edmund Burke School, Bryan Frank of Triout, JC Adams of DCG Basketball and the DC Gay Flag Football League.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: National Cannabis Festival

Annual event draws thousands to RFK



Growers show their strains at The National Cannabis Festival on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2024 National Cannabis Festival was held at the Fields at RFK Stadium on April 19-20.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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‘Amm(i)gone’ explores family, queerness, and faith

A ‘fully autobiographical’ work from out artist Adil Mansoor



Adil Mansoor in ‘Amm(i)gone’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. (Photo by Kitoko Chargois)

Thorough May 12
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St., N.W. 

“Fully and utterly autobiographical.” That’s how Adil Mansoor describes “Amm(i)gone,” his one-man work currently playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. 

Both created and performed by out artist Mansoor, it’s his story about inviting his Pakistani mother to translate Sophocles’s Greek tragedy “Antigone” into Urdu. Throughout the journey, there’s an exploration of family, queerness, and faith,as well as references to teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations with his Muslim mother. 

Mansoor, 38, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and is now based in Pittsburgh where he’s a busy theater maker. He’s also the founding member of Pittsburgh’s Hatch Arts Collective and the former artistic director of Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQ youth arts organization.

WASHINGTON BLADE: What spurred you to create “Amm(i)gone”? 

ADIL MANSOOR: I was reading a translation of “Antigone” a few years back and found myself emotionally overwhelmed. A Theban princess buries her brother knowing it will cost her, her own life. It’s about a person for whom all aspirations are in the afterlife. And what does that do to the living when all of your hopes and dreams have to be reserved for the afterlife?

I found grant funding to pay my mom to do the translation. I wanted to engage in learning. I wanted to share theater but especially this ancient tragedy. My mother appreciated the characters were struggling between loving one another and their beliefs. 

BLADE: Are you more director than actor?

MANSOOR: I’m primarily a director with an MFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon. I wrote, directed, and performed in this show, and had been working on it for four years. I’ve done different versions including Zoom. Woolly’s is a new production with the same team who’ve been involved since the beginning. 

I love solo performance. I’ve produced and now teach solo performance and believe in its power. And I definitely lean toward “performance” and I haven’t “acted” since I was in college. I feel good on stage. I was a tour guide and do a lot of public speaking. I enjoy the attention. 

BLADE: Describe your mom. 

MANSOOR: My mom is a wonderfully devout Muslim, single mother, social worker who discovered my queerness on Google. And she prays for me. 

She and I are similar, the way we look at things, the way we laugh. But different too. And those are among the questions I ask in this show. Our relationship is both beautiful and complicated.

BLADE: So, you weren’t exactly hiding your sexuality? 

MANSOOR: In my mid-20s, I took time to talk with friends about our being queer with relation to our careers. My sexuality is essential to the work. As the artistic director at Dreams of Hope, part of the work was to model what it means to be public. If I’m in a room with queer and trans teenagers, part of what I’m doing is modeling queer adulthood. The way they see me in the world is part of what I’m putting out there. And I want that to be expansive and full. 

So much of my work involves fundraising and being a face in schools. Being out is about making safe space for queer young folks.

BLADE: Have you encountered much Islamophobia? 

MANSOOR: When 9/11 happened, I was a sophomore in high school, so yes. I faced a lot then and now. I’ve been egged on the street in the last four months. I see it in the classroom. It shows up in all sorts of ways. 

BLADE: What prompted you to lead your creative life in Pittsburgh? 

MANSOOR: I’ve been here for 14 years. I breathe with ease in Pittsburgh. The hills and the valleys and the rust of the city do something to me. It’s beautiful, it’ affordable, and there is support for local artists. There’s a lot of opportunity. 

Still, the plan was to move to New York in September of 2020 but that was cancelled. Then the pandemic showed me that I could live in Pittsburgh and still have a nationally viable career. 

BLADE: What are you trying to achieve with “Amm(i)gone”? 

MANSOOR: What I’m sharing in the show is so very specific but I hear people from other backgrounds say I totally see my mom in that. My partner is Catholic and we share so much in relation to this. 

 I hope the work is embracing the fullness of queerness and how means so many things. And I hope the show makes audiences want to call their parents or squeeze their partners.

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