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Calendar: April 1

Concerts, exhibits, parties and more through April 7

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Britney Spears’ new album is the centerpiece of the ‘Femme Fatale Ball’ tonight at Apex. (Photo courtesy of Jive Records)

Friday, April 1

RAW, hosted by DJs Bil Todd and Shea Van Horn with special guest DJ Joshua, will be at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Free entry before 11 p.m. with a $5 cover after. There will be an open bar from 10 to 11 p.m. Attendees must be 21 or older.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) presents the Femme Fatale Ball, a release party for Britney Spears’ new album, “Femme Fatale,” from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. with DJs Randy White and Keenan Orr. Attendees will have a chance to win a free copy of the album.

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) has its open mic night tonight from 8 to 10 p.m. featuring Avata J and hosted by Mike Brazell. This is a free event.

AnniethingGoes and Forward Fest present Dory, Charles Martin and vANNIEty Kills at Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club (1103 Bladensburg Rd., N.E.) tonight from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. This is Dory’s D.C. debut. Cover is $5 or free with the FWD pass. All attendees must be 21 or older. For more information, visit forwarddc.com.

The Lodge (21614 National Pike) in Boonsboro presents Ten Queens. One Crown. The Journey to Miss Gay Maryland: A Contestant Revue Show hosted by Onyx Revlon and Ashley Bannks. Doors open at 9 p.m. with a $5 cover until 11 and $8 after. The show starts at 10:30 p.m.

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., N.W.) is hosting an opening reception tonight from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for its newest exhibits, “Grasses” by Mary D. Ott featuring hand-pulled prints of diverse images with grasses as their theme and “Nest with a Twist” by Janet Wheeler featuring mixed media pieces that depict nature’s endless cycle of renewal.

Saturday, April 2

John Doe and Jill Sobule, the singer of the original “I Kissed a Girl,” will be performing at Rams Head On Stage (33 West St.) in Annapolis today at 13:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at ramsheadonstage.com.

Apex (1415 22nd St., N.W.) presents RuPaul’s DragRace season three star, India Ferrah, tonight at 11 p.m. with Kristina Kelly and Her Girls of Glamour. DJ Gigi will be spinning starting at midnight. There is $10 cover.

Code has its monthly installment tonight at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.). Gear, rubber, skin, uniform or leather dress code will be strictly enforced. Music provided by DJ Frank Wild. Admission is $10. Code is an 18-and-older event. There will be an open bar from 9-10.

DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion return to the 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) with their No Scrubs: ‘90s Dance Party tonight at 9 p.m. featuring music by Salt N Pepa, Nirvana, Ace of Base and more. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at 930.com.

Busboys & Poets is holding a bake sale for Japan on the patio of its 5th and K Sts. location (1025 5th St., N.W.) at 10 a.m. This is part of a simultaneous national bake sale. All money raised will be donated to Peace Winds Japan. For more information, visit bakesalforjapan.com.

Adventuring, a D.C. gay and lesbian outdoor group, will be hosting a cherry blossom day hike. The group will meet at the station attendant’s kiosk at the Rosslyn Metro at 9 a.m. and hike a trail to the cherry blossoms and back. The only required cost is the $2 trip fee. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Sunday, April 3

Nicki Minaj will be performing tonight at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center (501 F St., N.W.) as part of Lil Wayne’s I’m Still Music tour also featuring Rick Ross and Travis Barker with MixMaster Mike. Tickets range from $49.75 to $125.75 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.

For the 2011 Kennedy Center Spring Gala, the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) presents “Michael Kaiser at the Kennedy Center: A Celebration of Ten Years” at 8 p.m. hosted by honoree Smokey Robinson with performers like Joshua Bell, Barbara Cook, Audra McDonald and dancers from various ballet companies. Tickets range from $35 to $150. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit kennedy-center.org.

Monday, April 4

The Queer Network of the Women’s Information Network is having a volunteer night at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to make safer sex kits.

Bears do Yoga at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court N.W.) tonight at 6:30 p.m. Class lasts for an hour and serves as an introduction to yoga for people of all different body types and physical abilities. It’s taught by Michael Brazell. For more information, visit dccenter.org.

Tuesday, April 5

“Shear Madness,” a comedy whodunit, will be performed twice tonight at the Kennedy Center Theater Lab (2700 F St., N.W.) at 5 and 8 p.m. “Madness” takes place in present-day Georgetown, in the Shear Madness Hair Styling Salon. Tickets are $42. Visit kennedy-center.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

Conflict Solutions International is hosting an event on Islam and Western Society today at the Western Presbyterian Church (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 6

The Tom Davaron Social Bridge Club will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for social bridge. No partner is needed. For more information, visit lambdabridge.com and click “Social Bridge in Washington, D.C.”

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 Pring will host and bartend.

Thursday, April 7

Team D.C. presents Spring Sportsfest, a happy hour and “open house expo” for LGBT athletes and newcomers interested in joining a team this season today from 7 to 10 p.m. at Room & Board (1840 14th St., N.W.). More than 25 sports groups have been confirmed as being in attendance. For more information, visit teamdc.org.

Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.) is hosting AIDS Walk 2011 Kick-Off today at 6 p.m. There will be raffle prizes, free fries, free walk registration and fundraising guide and one free beer.

The Crime Victims’ Rights Week National Observance and Candlelight Ceremony is tonight at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (1615 H St., N.W.) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. featuring Judy Shepard, mother of slain hate crime victim, Matthew Shepard. This is a free event. For more information, visit ncvrw.org.

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Photos

PHOTOS: DCGFFL 25th Anniversary Party

Gay flag football league marks milestone at Penn Social

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The D.C. Gay Flag Football league held a party celebrating their 25th season at Penn Social on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) held a 25th season anniversary party at Penn Social on Saturday, Sept. 23. Proceeds from the event benefited the LGBTQ youth services organization SMYAL as well as the D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Books

New book goes behind the scenes of ‘A League of Their Own’

‘No Crying in Baseball’ offers tears, laughs, and more

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(Book cover image courtesy of Hachette Books)

‘No Crying in Baseball: The Inside Story of ‘A League of Their Own’
By Erin Carlson
c.2023, Hachette Books
$29/320 pages

You don’t usually think of Madonna as complaining of being “dirty all day” from playing baseball. But that’s what the legendary diva did during the shooting of “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 movie, beloved by queers.

“No Crying in Baseball,” the fascinating story behind “A League of Their Own,” has arrived in time for the World Series. Nothing could be more welcome after Amazon has cancelled season 2 of its reboot (with the same name) of this classic film.

In this era, people don’t agree on much. Yet, “A League of Their Own” is loved by everyone from eight-year-old kids to 80-year-old grandparents.

The movie has strikes, home runs and outs for sports fans; period ambience for history buffs; and tears, laughs and a washed-up, drunk, but lovable coach for dramady fans.

The same is true for “No Crying in Baseball.” This “making of” story will appeal to history, sports and Hollywood aficionados. Like “All About Eve” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “A League of Their Own” is Holy queer Writ.

Carlson, a culture and entertainment journalist who lives in San Francisco, is skilled at distilling Hollywood history into an informative, compelling narrative. As with her previous books, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy” and “Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep,” “No Crying in Baseball,” isn’t too “educational.” It’s filled with gossip to enliven coffee dates and cocktail parties.

“A League of Their Own” is based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). From 1943 to 1954, more than 600 women played in the league in the Midwest. The league’s players were all white because the racism of the time prohibited Black women from playing. In the film, the characters are fictional. But the team the main characters play for – the Rockford Peaches – was real.

While many male Major and Minor League Baseball players were fighting in World War II, chewing gum magnate Philip K. Wrigley, who owned the Chicago Cubs, founded the league. He started the AAGPBL, “To keep spectators in the bleachers,” Carlson reports, “and a storied American sport–more important: his business afloat.” 

In 1943, the Office of War Information warned that the baseball season could be “scrapped” “due to a lack of men,” Carlson adds.

“A League of Their Own” was an ensemble of women’s performances (including Rosie O’Donnell as Doris, Megan Cavanagh as Marla, Madonna as Mae, Lori Petty as Kit and Geena Davis as Dottie) that would become legendary.

Girls and women  still dress up as Rockford Peaches on Halloween.

Tom Hanks’s indelible portrayal of coach Jimmy Dugan, Gary Marshall’s depiction of (fictional) league owner Walter Harvey and Jon Lovitz’s portrayal of Ernie have also become part of film history.

Filming “A League of Their Own,” Carlson vividly makes clear, was a gargantuan effort.  There were “actresses who can’t play baseball” and “baseball players who can’t act,” Penny Marshall said.

The stadium in Evansville, Ind., was rebuilt to look like it was in the 1940s “when the players and extras were in costume,” Carlson writes, “it was easy to lose track of what year it was.”

“No Crying in Baseball” isn’t written for a queer audience. But, Carlson doesn’t pull any punches. 

Many of the real-life AAGPBL players who O’Donnell met had same-sex partners, O’Donnell told Carlson.

“When Penny, angling for a broad box-office hit chose to ignore the AAGPGL’s queer history,” Carlson writes, “she perpetuated a cycle of silence that muzzled athletes and actresses alike from coming out on the wider stage.”

“It was, as they say, a different time,” she adds.

Fortunately, Carlson’s book isn’t preachy. Marshall nicknames O’Donnell and Madonna (who become buddies) “Ro” and “Mo.” Kodak is so grateful for the one million feet of film that Marshall shot that it brings in a high school marching band. Along with a lobster lunch. One day, an assistant director “streaked the set to lighten the mood,” Carlson writes.

“No Crying in Baseball,” is slow-going at first. Marshall, who died in 2018, became famous as Laverne in “Laverne & Shirley.” It’s interesting to read about her. But Carlson devotes so much time to Marshall’s bio that you wonder when she’ll get to “A League of Their Own.”

Thankfully, after a couple of innings, the intriguing story of one of the best movies ever is told.

You’ll turn the pages of “No Crying in Baseball” even if you don’t know a center fielder from a short stop.

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

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Theater

Rupert Murdoch’s powers on full display in ‘Ink’

Media baron helped pave the way for Brexit, Prime Minister Thatcher

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Cody Nickell (Larry Lamb) and Andrew Rein (Rupert Murdoch) in ‘Ink’ at Round House Theatre. (Photo by Margot Schulman Photography)

‘Ink’
Through Sept. 24
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
$46-$94
Roundhousetheatre.org

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s loathsome traits are many, but his skills to succeed are undeniably numerous. 

In the first scenes of John Graham’s West End and Broadway hit drama “Ink,” an exciting year-long detail from the life of a burgeoning media baron, Murdoch’s powers of persuasion are on full display.

It’s 1969 London. Over dinner with editor Larry Lamb, a young Murdoch shares his plan to buy the Sun and rebrand the dying broadsheet, replacing the Daily Mirror as Britain’s best-selling tabloid. What’s more, he wants to do it in just one year with Lamb at the helm. 

Initially reluctant, Lamb becomes seduced by the idea of running a paper, something that’s always eluded him throughout his career, and something Murdoch, the outsider Australian, understands. Murdoch taunts him, “Not you. Not Larry Lamb, the Yorkshire-born son of a blacksmith, not the guy who didn’t get a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, who didn’t get a degree from anywhere. Not you.”

Still, Lamb, played convincingly by Cody Nickell in Round House Theatre’s stellar season-opener, a co-production with Olney Theatre Center, remains unsure. But Murdoch (a delightfully brash Andrew Rein) is undeterred, and seals the deal with a generous salary. 

Superbly staged by director Jason Loweth, “Ink” is riveting. Its exchanges between Lamb and Murdoch are a strikingly intimate glimpse into ambition involving an ostensibly average editor and a striving money man who doesn’t like people.  

Once on board, Lamb is trolling Fleet Street in search of his launch team, played marvelously by some mostly familiar actors. He makes his most important hire — news editor Brian McConnell (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh) — in a steam bath. The remainder of the Sun’s new masthead falls handily into place: Joyce Hopkirk (Kate Eastwood Norris) the women’s page editor whose forward thinking is marred by her casual racism; Zion Jang plays Beverley Goodway, an awkwardly amusing young photographer; persnickety deputy editor Bernard Shrimsley (Michael Glenn) who learns to love ugly things; and an old school sports editor who proves surprisingly versatile, played by Ryan Rillette, Round House’s artistic director. 

At Lamb’s suggestion, the team brainstorms about what interests Sun readers. They decide on celebrities, pets, sports, free stuff, and —rather revolutionarily for the time —TV.  Murdoch is happy to let readers’ taste dictate content and the “Why” of the sacred “five Ws” of journalism is out the window. 

Murdoch is portrayed as a not wholly unlikable misanthrope. He dislikes his editors and pressman alike. He particularly hates unions. His advice to Lamb is not to get too chummy with his subordinates. Regarding the competition, Murdoch doesn’t just want to outperform them, he wants to grind them to dust. 

Loewith leads an inspired design team. Scenic designer Tony Cisek’s imposing, inky grey edifice made from modular walls is ideally suited for Mike Tutaj’s projections of headlines, printed pages, and Rein’s outsized face as Murdoch. Sound designer and composer Matthew M. Nielson ably supplies bar noises and the nonstop, pre-digital newspaper clatter of presses, linotypes, and typewriters.

From a convenient second tiered balcony, the Daily Mirror’s establishment power trio Hugh Cudlipp (Craig Wallace), Chris Lee Howard (Chris Geneback) and Sir Percy (Walter Riddle) overlook all that lies below, discussing new tactics and (mostly failed) strategies to remain on top.   

Increasingly comfortable in the role of ruthless, sleazy editor, Lamb is unstoppable.

Obsessed with overtaking the Daily Mirror’s circulation, he opts for some sketchy reportage surrounding the kidnapping and presumed murder of Muriel McKay, the wife of Murdoch’s deputy Sir Alick (Todd Scofield). The kidnappers mistook Muriel for Murdoch’s then-wife Anna (Sophia Early). Next, in a move beyond the pale, Lamb introduces “Page 3,” a feature spotlighting a topless female model. Awesta Zarif plays Stephanie, a smart young model. She asks Lamb if he would run a semi-nude pic of his similarly aged daughter? His reaction is uncomfortable but undaunted. 

For Murdoch’s purposes, history proves he chose well in Lamb. By year’s end, the Sun is Britain’s most widely read tabloid. Together they give the people what they didn’t know they wanted, proving the pro-Labour Daily Mirror’s hold on the working class is baseless and paving the way for things like Brexit and a Prime Minister Thatcher. 

“Ink” at Round House closes soon. See it if you can.

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