Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Thousands expected for D.C. Pride festivities

Weekend’s parade and festival a ‘destination event’



Pride Heroes

Capital Pride presented its annual Heroes and Engendered Spirit Awards at a ceremony on Tuesday night at the Embassy of Sweden; see story for full list of winners. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

As many as 250,000 people are expected to turn out for the D.C. Capital Pride parade and festival set for Saturday and Sunday, marking the D.C. area and the mid-Atlantic region’s largest two LGBT events of the year, according to Capital Pride organizers.

The two events serve as the highlight of dozens of Pride-related events that began on June 1 and included a broad and diverse representation of the LGBT community, organizers said, including events celebrating the transgender community and the LGBT Latino and Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

“This is the community’s event and the community pitches in every year,” said Bernie Delia, vice president of the Capital Pride board. “They’re the ones who put together the parade contingents and the floats on Saturday. And on Sunday, at the festival, they’re the ones who are staffing all those booths,” he said.

“They line the parade route and they come out in support of everybody at the festival, and it truly is a community event and it’s just wonderful to see this each and every year.”

Capital Pride spokesperson Scott Lusk said the festival’s headline entertainer, singer and Broadway actress Jennifer Holliday, was expected to make news on the main stage during her 5 p.m. performance when she debuts her new single “Magic,” representing the song’s world premiere.

Nationally acclaimed DJ and re-mixer Tony Moran of New York will accompany Holliday on the stage, where he will perform a special mix with Holliday, according to an announcement by Capital Pride.

“We’re thrilled that Tony Moran will join us at the Capital Pride Festival,” said Michael Lutz, president of the Capital Pride board. “With Tony joining Jennifer Holliday, we are set to have an afternoon of outstanding entertainment that will appeal to a wide audience.”

Other entertainers will perform on the main stage prior to Holliday’s appearance. They include the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, popular drag performer Ella Fitzgerald, and the D.C. Cowboys dancing group. A full list of the entertainers is available at HYPERLINK “”

As of May 8, 79 contingents had signed up for participation in the June 11 parade. Organizers said additional contingents were expected to sign up.

And as of May 21, 206 organizations, businesses and vendors had reserved space for booths at the June 12 Capital Pride festival, which takes place on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., between 3rd Street, near the U.S. Capitol, and 7th Street. As of Wednesday, the weather forecast looks good for the weekend with temperatures expected to be in the low 80s with only a chance of scattered storms on both days.

Similar to past years, dozens of LGBT organizations, both national and local, are slated to staff booths this year. Dozens of corporations and businesses seeking to do business with LGBT people also will have booths in this year’s festival.

Among them are America Online, Choice Hotels International, Geico, Walgreens pharmacies, Verizon Wireless, and Citibank, SunTrust, and Wachovia banks.

For the past four years, the Washington City Paper has named the Capital Pride Parade the city’s best parade of the year, and Delia said he expects this year’s parade to continue that tradition.

Delia and other Capital Pride organizers say a wide range of colorful floats and marching bands are slated to join the parade, which is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of 22nd and P Sts., N.W. next to P Street Beach Park.

Similar to past years, the parade will travel west on P Street to Dupont Circle, turn north along New Hampshire Avenue and take a right turn on R Street to 17th Street. It will travel south along 17th Street, passing several popular gay bars and restaurants, before returning to P Street, where it heads east to 14th Street. At that point, the parade travels south on 14th before ending at 14th and N Streets, N.W., near Thomas Circle.

The main parade reviewing stand, where Capital Pride judges will select winners of different categories of parade contingents, is located on the 1400 block of P Street, near the Whole Foods supermarket.

At a ceremony on Tuesday night at the Embassy of Sweden, which is among this year’s Capital Pride sponsors, the group presented its annual Capital Pride Heroes and Capital Pride Engendered Spirit Awards.

Those honored this year as Pride Heroes are Bil Browning, LGBT activist and founder of the Bilerico Project blog; June Crenshaw, a local African-American lesbian activist involved in health issues; Tyrone Hanley, HIV prevention advocate for LGBT youth; Dr. Theo Hodge, infectious disease specialist working on HIV/AIDS treatment; Rev. Jill McCrory, interim pastor at Open Door Metropolitan Community Church in Boyds, Md. and marriage equality advocate; and Rebecca Roose, environmental advocate promoting  “green” Capital Pride events.

Engendered Spirit award recipients include: Terri Moore, youth activist associated with D.C.’s Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL); Gabby Thomas, HIV/AIDS activist associated with the D.C. groups Us Helping Us and Transgender Health Empowerment; Mara Keisling, founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality; Ruby Corado, advocate for transgender rights within the D.C. area Latino community and the broader LGBT community; Drs. Denis and Christine Wiley, co-pastors of the LGBT welcoming Covenant Baptist United Church in Southeast D.C.; and Joe Izzo, licensed social worker and longtime psychotherapist with Whitman-Walker Health specializing in transgender and substance abuse issues.


a&e features

Taste of Pride celebrates LGBTQ and allied restaurants

Weeklong event will feature local eateries and bars



Kareem Queeman, known as Mr. Bake, will headline the opening event for Taste of Pride.

Get ready to celebrate LGBTQ-owned, managed, and allied restaurants at Taste of Pride from Oct. 2-8. 

The weeklong event is a new initiative by Capital Pride Alliance. In 2021, the organization put on a single-day brunch event in June at LGBTQ and allied restaurants, but this is the first weeklong iteration. 

About 15 local restaurants and bars are set to participate, including As You Are, Shaw’s Tavern, Jane Jane, and Code Red. There’s also an opening party on Monday, Oct. 2 featuring food and drink vendors without a traditional brick-and-mortar space, like Suga Chef and Vegan Junk Food. 

Taste of Pride will raise funds for the Pride365 fund, which supports local LGBTQ organizations. There will be a three-course prix fixe menu at several of the participating locations, with lunch and brunch menus offered at $30, and dinner menus offered at $40 or $55. 

Kareem Queeman, known as Mr. Bake, will be headlining the opening event on the evening of Oct. 2 at Lost Generation Brewery. Queeman, the founder and owner of the renowned bakery Mr. Bake Sweets and a James Beard Award semi-finalist, said he’s excited to spotlight LGBTQ chefs and mixologists. 

Queeman said he’s proud to be a part of bringing queer culinary experts together to celebrate the work they’ve all done and discuss what changes need to come to the industry — there will be a panel discussion on Oct. 2 covering those topics. LGBTQ chefs have long gone unnoticed, he said, despite the innovative work they’ve done. 

“Queers have been in the industry doing the work for a very long time and we just haven’t really gotten that acknowledgment,” Queeman said. 

Providing this space for LGBTQ people in the restaurant industry is paramount to giving a sense of power and ownership in the work they do, Queeman said. He wishes there was this kind of space for him when he was coming up as a chef when he was younger. 

Taste of Pride is also a great opportunity for LGBTQ people looking to get into the industry to find safe spaces to work that are run by queer people, Queeman said. 

Rob Heim, the general manager at Shaw’s Tavern, said he’s looking forward to being a part of the event. And new fall menu items at Shaw’s Tavern will be available during Taste of Pride, which he’s thrilled to showcase. 

“I was really excited to help out and participate,” he said. “It’s a great idea.” 

The smaller number of participating restaurants in Taste of Pride is intentional, said Brandon Bayton, a volunteer executive producer organizing Taste of Pride. It’s so each restaurant can be well-represented during the week, and different restaurants will be highlighted on social media on separate days. Capital Pride Alliance is also partnering with influencers to get the word out. 

From left, food from 801 Restaurant and Bar and a drink from Code Red. (Code Red photo by Michael Emond; photos courtesy of Capital Pride Alliance)

Visibility — all year long 

It’s important to have events like Taste of Pride outside of June, Bayton said. 

“We exist 365 days,” Bayton said. “So we need to make sure that we continue the celebration and invite others to celebrate with us and just be authentically ourselves. We enjoy and do a lot of things other people do. There’s no reason why we should just be constrained to one month.”

Queeman agrees. His identity as a queer Black man doesn’t stop or start at any given month. 

“I’m not just a queer or gay man in June or I’m not just a Black man in February,” he said. 

And food is a major intersection that all people of all identities enjoy, Bayton said. It’s a simple way to bring people together. 

“We do the exact same things that everyone else does,” Bayton said. “We all eat. We all love to eat.” 

Taste of Pride will run from Oct. 2-8. For more information and to make reservations, visit

Continue Reading


PHOTOS: DCGFFL 25th Anniversary Party

Gay flag football league marks milestone at Penn Social



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)

Continue Reading


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

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



(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.

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade