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Calendar: event listings through Oct. 21

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Friday, Oct. 15

Raging Stallion adult star Adam Killian will be live and nude on stage tonight at Secrets. Cover is $5 before 10:30 p.m. and $10 after. Doors open at 9 p.m. For more information, visit secretsdc.com.

Baltimore Black Pride starts today with a meet and greet with the Board of Directors at Club Bunns (608 W. Lexington St., Baltimore) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Dakshina Dance Company presents Mallika Sarabhai and the Darpana Dance Company’s performance of Sampradayam (Traditions) at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. This event is part of D.C.’s seventh annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts. Visit dakshina.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

The VelocityDC Dance Festival returns for a second year at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St., N.W.) at 8 p.m. featuring CityDance Ensemble, Urban Artistry, the Washington Ballet and more. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at Shakespearetheatre.org.

Factory 449 presents “The Saint Plays” by Erik Ehn tonight at 8 p.m. at the Church Street Theatre (1742 Church St., N.W.).

The Black Squirrel (2427 18th St., N.W.) hosts its weekly LGBT night tonight at 9 p.m. There’s no cover charge. Must be 21 or older to enter. Visit blacksquirreldc.com to see a menu.

Sugarloft CraftsFestival starts today at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. For more information, visit sugarloafcrafts.com.

This is the last weekend for Ganymede’s production of the gay-themed “Falsettos” at Noi’s Nook on 14th Street. Final performances are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7. Tickets are $30. Go to www.ganymedearts.org for more information.

Saturday, Oct. 9

Cotton Candy, a new 18-and-up gay dance party from event planner Jacob Pring, is tonight from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Green Lantern. It will continue on the second Saturday of each month. Admission is $5 but is free for those with a college or military ID. Vodka drinks are free from 10 to 11 p.m. DJs David Merrill and Bryan Yamasaki will spin. Ten percent of proceeds go to the D.C. Center.

Baltimore Black Pride continues with the Living Red Ribbon Campaign from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine, at Rash Field, at the base of Federal Hill park, in Baltimore. Representatives from the Guinness World Records are expected to attend as attendees attempt to create the largest living red ribbon ever.

The 14th annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner is tonight at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place, N.W.). The dinner is sold out but people who still want to attend can be added to the wait list. Visit hrcnationaldinner.org for more information.

The VelocityDC Dance Festival continues today at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St., N.W.) at 2 and 8 p.m. The 8 p.m. event includes performances by EDGEWORKS, Erica Rebollar, Furia Flamenca and more. The 2 p.m. event features the same performances as Friday night.

The eighth annual Cultural Affair, a part of Baltimore Black Pride, will be at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center (847 N. Howard St.) from 7 to 11 p.m. tonight.

Logo and RCN present Morgan McMiachels and Shannel from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Drag U” tonight at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) as part of the drag show starting at 10:30 p.m. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $8 before 11 and $12 after. Attendees must be 21 or older.

Sunday, Oct. 10

LAMBDA SCI-FI will be holding its monthly meeting and social of LGBT science fiction, fantasy and horror fans at Brunswick House (1414 17th St., N.W.) at 1:30 p.m. for the meeting and 2 p.m. for the social. For more information call James at 202.232.3141 or e-mail to [email protected].

COLAGE celebrates its 20th anniversary today from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Mansion (O St., N.W.) Wilson Cruz, Angel from “Rent” will be emceeing the event.

Baltimore Black Pride will be having a National Coming Out Day party at the Comfort Inn Downtown Baltimore (8 E. Pleasant St.) from 2 to 4 p.m. Dress is casual and comfortable.

Pocket Gays hosts Sour Patch Sunday School today from 3 to 9 p.m. on the rooftop of Local 16 (1602 U St., N.W.). There will be drink specials and raffles including list spots to the “WTF” (What The Fuck?) party at Town the same night.

The fall festival ends Baltimore Black Pride at Club Bunns (608 W. Lexington St.) from 4 to 11 p.m. There is a $3 cover charge.

Women of Color Productions presents 10-10-10 The Unveiling of Epiphany Toi Williams from 6 p.m. to midnight tonight at Remington’s (639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.). This event is the true life account of Williams shared through spoken word, musical performances, dance ensemble and more.

Monday, Oct. 11

Zoom presents a picnic brunch at the National Arboretum (3501 New York Ave., N.E.) today from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be garden games including, twister, tug of war and more. Attendees are to bring their own picnic baskets. Well-trained pets are welcome. This event is free.

West Coast Swing Flash Mob choreography will be taught at Remington’s (639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) tonight at 8:30 p.m. The choreography will be used to join a group from the D.C. area doing a flash mob on Oct. 16.

Hope Operas, whose founder is openly gay, has its second week of five new shows tonight to raise money for charity. The shows are at 8 p.m. at the Comedy Spot, in Ballston Mall (4238 Wilson, Blvd.), in Arlington. Each show benefits a different charity. Tickets are $12 per show. For more information call 323.788.8970 or e-mail [email protected].

Tuesday, Oct. 12

SpeakeasyDC will be at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. with “Coming Out: Stories about revelations, debuts and proclamations” in honor of National Coming Out Day. There is a $10 cover and attendees must be 21 or older. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Mautner Project presents a stress relief workshop tonight from 7 to 8 p.m. at Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge St., N.W.). Vanita Leatherwood will lead a small group through six sessions of ways to relieve stress. There is a $30 registration fee. E-mail to [email protected] or call 202-332-5536 for more information and to register.

Masters and Slaves Together will be holding its monthly meeting tonight from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.). For more information about the group, visit its website, mastwashington.org.

Wednesday, Oct. 13

Rainbow Response will be holding its monthly meeting tonight from 7 to 8 p.m. at D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.). The meeting is open to all who are interested.

Green Lantern (1331 Green Court, N.W.) will host the weekly Poz D.C. happy hour upstairs from 8 p.m. to midnight. DJs, C-Dubz, Keith Hoffman, Jason Horswill and T-N-T Music factory will be spinning. Jacob Nathaniel Pring will host and bartend.

Thursday, Oct. 14

A new party dubbed “Homolicious” is at MOVA tonight from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. from MAG 7 Productions. Drag queen Stormy Vain and Allen Sexton will host. Downstairs from 7 to midnight, Jacob Pring and Justin Croft will bartend. Erik Lars Evans and Bryan Yamasaki will spin. Upstairs Mr. Gay D.C. 2010 Aaron Alexander will bartend and David Merrill will spin. “Homo” snow cones will be served. Those with birthdays the week of Oct. 10 to 16 will get a free drink.

DCBiWomen will be having its monthly dinner at Café Luna (1633 P St., N.W.) tonight from 7 to 8 p.m For more information, visit dcbiwomen.org.

Zenith Gallery (1111 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) has extended its Transparency exhibit of glass sculptures by Jackie L. Braitman. The gallery is open weekdays from 8 am to 7 p.m. For more information, visit zenithallery.com.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Black Pride Opening Reception

Billy Porter headlines program at start of weekend activities

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Billy Porter performs at the Opening Reception of DC Black Pride 2024. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Black Pride 2024 began at The Westin Washington, DC Downtown with an Opening Reception on Friday, May 24. The “Rainbow Row” resource fair was held in conjunction with the reception and featured community organizations and other vendors’ booths.

The reception was hosted by Anthony Oakes. Earl Fowlkes, outgoing chief executive officer and president of the Center for Black Equity, was honored by a mayoral proclamation. Performers included Billy Porter, Paris Sashay, Keith Angelo, Bang Garcon, Black Assets, Marcy Smiles and Sherri Amoure.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Books

Architecture junkies will love new book on funeral homes

‘Preserved’ explores how death industry evolved after WWII

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(Book cover image courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Press)

‘Preserved: A Cultural History of the Funeral Home in America’
By Dean G. Lampros
c.2024, Johns Hopkins University Press 
$34.95/374 pages

Three bedrooms upstairs. That’s a minimum.

You need a big kitchen, a large back room would be a bonus, you want lots of bathrooms, and if you can get a corner lot, that’d be great. The thing you need most is a gigantic all-purpose room or maybe a ballroom because you’re planning on a lot of people. As you’ll see in the new book “Preserved” by Dean G. Lampros, not all living rooms are for the living.

Not too long ago, shortly after he took a class on historic preservation, Dean Lampros’ husband dragged him on a weekend away to explore a small town in Massachusetts. There, Lampros studied the town’s architecture and it “saddened” him to see Victorian mansions surrounded by commercial buildings. And then he had an epiphany: there was once a time when those old mansions housed funeral homes. Early twentieth-century owners of residential funeral homes were, in a way, he says, preservationists.

Prior to roughly World War II, most funerals were held at home or, if there was a need, at a funeral home, the majority of which were located in a downtown area. That changed in 1923 when a Massachusetts funeral home owner bought a large mansion in a residential area and made a “series of interior renovations” to the building. Within a few years, his idea of putting a funeral home inside a former home had spread across the country and thousands of “stately old mansions in aging residential neighborhoods” soon held death-industry businesses.

This, says, Lampros, often didn’t go over well with the neighbors, and that resulted in thousands of people upset and lawsuits filed. Some towns then passed ordinances to prohibit such a thing from happening to their citizens.

Still, funeral home owners persevered. Moving out of town helped “elevate” the trade, and it allowed Black funeral home operators to get a toehold in formerly white neighborhoods. And by having a nice – and nice-sized – facility, the operators were finally able to wrest the end-of-life process away from individuals and home-funerals.

Here’s a promise: “Preserved” is not gruesome or gore-for-the-sake-of-gore. It’s not going to keep you up all night or give you nightmares. Nope, while it might be a little stiff, it’s more of a look at architecture and history than anything else.

From California to New England, author Dean G. Lampros takes readers on a cruise through time and culture to show how “enterprising” business owners revolutionized a category and reached new customers for a once-in-a-deathtime event. Readers who’ve never considered this hidden-in-plain-sight, surprising subject – or, for that matter, the preservation or re-reclamation of those beautiful old homes – are in for a treat here. Despite that the book can lean toward the academic, a good explanatory timeline and information gleaned from historical archives and museums offer a liveliness that you’ll enjoy.

This book will delight fans of little-know history, and architecture junkies will drool over its many photographs. “Preserved” is the book you want because there are other ways to make a house a “home.”

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Theater

‘Evita’s Return’ offers different take on Argentinian icon

Posthumous look at mummified first lady’s travels is not fiction

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Fran Tapia (front) Back L-R Facundo Agustin, Luis Obed Velazquez, Tsaitami Duchicela (back) Oscar A.Rodriguez, Rodolfo Santamarina, and Sofia Grosso. ( Photo by Stan Weinstein)

“Momea en el Clóset (Mummy in the Closet): Evita’s Return”
Through June 9
GALA Hispanic Theatre
3333 14th St., N.W.
$50
Galatheatre.org

Whether alive or dead, Eva Perón wielded her own brand of political power. After her death in 1952, Eva’s cult of mostly poor and working-class followers remained devoted to their Santa Evita. Her husband, Argentina’s president Juan Perón, fostered adulation by having her wasted body painstakingly embalmed, and displaying the waxen corpse like the incorruptible bodies of sainted Roman Catholic luminaries. But when the anti-Peronistas took power, they had other ideas; storing her away far from sight seemed a better idea.

Typically works about Argentina’s first lady focus on her unbridled ambition and ascent from anonymity to fame, but the strikingly original “Momea en el Clóset (Mummy in the Closet): Evita’s Return” — now at GALA Hispanic Theatre — is different. The collaboration of GALA’s producing artistic director Gustavo Ott (book and lyrics) and Mariano Vales (music and lyrics) spotlights the events following Eva’s death from cervical cancer at just 33.  

At the center of this entertaining madness is winning out actor Fran Tapia as Eva, a corpse sporting a ball gown and the trademark platinum blonde chignon, standing stiffly in a closet, more a mobile cabinet actually. In death, she realizes a silent dignity with flashes of an unyielding passion for social justice. 

The Chilean award-winning Tapia possesses a stunningly emotive voice, quickly evidenced in the show’s first number “Evita, Evita,” when near death Eva bravely addresses the needy crowd whom she endearingly calls her descamisados (the very poor). Simultaneously, the smug anti-Peronists — bourgeoisie and military types — sing “cancer is homeland,” “cancer is love.” They relish the idea of her dying and are counting the minutes to her imminent demise. 

So, the scene is set. Eva’s shabby posthumous story unfolds – performed in Spanish with eloquent English surtitles. Sprinkled with humor and poignant bits, it’s a dramedy, reflective of then and today. 

Unlike Eva’s “Rainbow Tour” of 1947 when Argentina’s newly minted first lady was introduced to Europe with mixed results, her death journey is an obscure low-rent, outing. She finds herself in a Milanese cemetery with some particularly pesky souls, each who apparently strode the earth in different centuries (all cleverly costumed by Becca Janney). 

For a time, she lands with an increasingly cynical Perón (stentorian-voiced Martín Ruiz) in Spanish exile. With him are new wife Isabel (Camila Taleisnik), portrayed as a reluctant and inept replacement for Evita, and scheming political cum spiritual adviser López (Diego Mariani).

As crazy as it sounds, GALA’s current offering isn’t a work of fiction. At the top of the show, it’s made perfectly clear that any resemblance to the truth is factual. Director Mariano Caligaris’ inventive, fearless staging along with Valeria Cossnu’s exhilarating choreography, make for exciting storytelling. 

Music inspired by Latin rhythms of samba, reggae, bachata, tango, tarantella, and waltz (by way of Bavaria) is directed by Walter “Bobby” McCoy and performed live by a fabulous unseen seven-person orchestra. 

Grisele Gonzalez’s serviceable, multi-tiered set design affords the various prerequisite balconies and perches. An upstage scrim is perfect for the projections (Hailey Laroe) of grimy actual footage from Eva’s funeral and subsequent violent skirmishes involving fascists against the people. 

The cast is uniformly terrific. They sing, dance, and act with equal skill, and whether playing protesters, clerical staff, or handsome Argentinian soldiers, they look the part. Most are required to interact with the cadaver in differing ways from timidly to less than respectfully. 

Making his GALA debut, wonderfully able Rodrigo Pedreira shows off his versatility as Dr. Ara, the man tasked with making the dead woman presentable for public consumption, as well as a general whose butch exterior is belied by the occasional mincing walk and longing looks directed at his cute aide-de-camp (Luis Obed Velázquez).

As she travels, mummified Eva says “And once again the moving begins. They move me through offices, basements, garages. They cover me, package me, label me, and off I go traveling again! We come from fascism and toward fascism we go.”

Alive or dead, Eva was never able to successfully crack Buenos Aires’ famously tough high society, but she found fans elsewhere. 

Over about 14 years as a displaced dead body and beyond, Tapia’s Eva embodies the spirit of Argentina’s millions, the common people. They return the dedication: Candles are lit. Prayers are offered. Intercession is sought. Life goes on, but Eva isn’t easily forgotten.

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