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Queery: Karl Frisch

The liberal media strategist answers 20 gay questions



Karl Frisch (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Karl Frisch started his career as a Republican. He now makes a living pointing out what he calls the party’s hypocrisies and biases masquerading as journalism.

“It’s been an advantage in some ways,” the 33-year-old Westchester, Calif., native says. “I came to this fight having seen what the other side is capable of. I started very young … working on the campaign of a local Republican. My parents were Republicans … my politics were not motivated by ideology but more by my own trajectory and career. I was thinking about what would raise my profile and make me more successful.”

He was also closeted at the time. Frisch, today a syndicated columnist and founding partner of Bullfight Strategies (a communications partnership that helps progressive leaders), has joined the Democratic Party and discusses his views on radio and TV. The college dropout is a regular on CurrentTV’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and morning radio’s “Stephanie Miller Show” where his “Right Wing World” segment airs Thursdays at 9. Listen for him Monday and Tuesday when he guest hosts the nationally syndicated “Leslie Marshall Show,” which can be streamed through her eponymous website.

So what led to his political turnabout? Frisch says it was mostly a matter of age and maturity, some of which was tied up in his decisions to come out about the same time. He eventually felt “ludicrous,” he says, and realized early in his career a “wasted life in the closet, miserable” wasn’t for him. His campaign staff work, which included a stint with Sen. John McCain in 2000, led him to Iowa, South Carolina, Vermont, Ohio and more. He landed in Washington in 2004 after working on the Howard Dean campaign. Frisch initially did some new media consulting work here, then worked with U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter on the House Rules Committee.

Frisch enjoys traveling, skiing, camping, politics, espressos, live music, theater, gadgets and “Glee” in his free time. “Sweet Transvestite” from “Rocky Horror” is his signature karaoke song. He de-stresses by doing cardio at Vida and walking his dog, Dexter Von Frisch, who has his own Twitter account. Frisch is single and lives in Dupont Circle.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

The first person I told was my closest high school/college friend Portia in 1999. I sent her a letter and was so upset when I didn’t hear back from her after a few days. It turned out that I’d simply put the wrong zip code on the envelope — she ended up being great and very supportive. So supportive in fact that her college roommate came out within a few days! It wasn’t long until I was out to everyone in my life with the exception of my parents. They were the hardest to tell though I finally did in 2002.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

That’s going to be a four-way tie between my sister for the personal inspiration, Harvey Milk and Dan Savage for their civic inspiration, and members of the LGBT community who continue to reside in states that deny their equality and fail to value their simple human dignity. They should inspire us all, especially those of us in D.C. who have it far easier in comparison.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?

Feeling divey? Townhouse Tavern. Want to sing? Karaoke at Playbill Café with Jill on Thursdays. Nellie’s and D.C. Bëar Crüe happy hour are always fun too.

Describe your dream wedding.

First and foremost, there would have to be another groom. Oh, and it would also be a union recognized in every U.S. state, district and territory. I’d even give up the cake, tuxedo and reception for that (though I really shouldn’t need to).

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Climate change. I have no doubt that we are on the precipice of full equality as a community. I’d like to be able to enjoy it here on planet Earth for decades to come. With the same anti-science crazies that stand in the way of our equality denying the truth of global climate change, that isn’t a guarantee.

What historical outcome would you change?

The 2000 election. If Gore had been declared the winner, perhaps we would be further along in the march for equality.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Four words: Marky Mark Calvin Klein.

On what do you insist?

Voting. If you don’t, STFU. Seriously.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“Amazing. My youngest sister is in the new GLEE Live 3D movie. She’s the redhead makeup artist:

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

Second Chances: The Story of How a Closeted Conservative Became a Gay Progressive and Changed the World for the Better”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

Start casting aspersions on science like a Republican.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

Literally? Other planets, our universe, some stars, various gasses, space junk etc.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Keep calm and fight on!

What would you walk across hot coals for?

I’d settle for $5,000 cash and the world’s best pedicure.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

The notion that being gay is a choice. It isn’t. Religiosity and being Republican on the other hand …

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

That’s really tough because so many are so very bad. For major releases, I’d go with “Milk,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Top Gun” (it’s about volleyball right?). “Get Real,” “Spork,” “Sordid Lives” and “Edge of Seventeen” for some indie flare.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

The subordination of women.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

Who wouldn’t dream of completing the EGOT during their lifetime? Google it.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That “it gets better.” If I’d known that, perhaps I would have come out at 18 or even earlier.

Why Washington?

History. Happens. Here. (and crabcakes)



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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Claire Hollady

    September 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t understand how Mr. Frisch can patronize a restaurant/pub where the owner is hysterically homophobic. He recently verbally assaulted my gay son outside the tavern, which happens to be next to a popular gay establishment, in a way I would have involved the police had I been there. If I ever happen to witness his disgusting behavior toward my son again, he’ll witness in person a mother’s natural instinct to protect her child even if said child is gay. But I happen to be gay too, so maybe I’ll get to experience a homophobic attack all on my own. What’s even sadder is there were witnesses to this attack, queer witnesses, who did not stand up for a family member. Chicken? Apathetic? Lazy? Stupid? Probably a little of everything. What happened to standing up for ourselves and our people? And what happened to blacklisting businesses that target queers? Would we stand by and watch an African American, Asian, physically challenged, mentally challenged be verbally assaulted in public? I hope the answer is no, but I’m beginning to think the youngins are missing backbone.

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The evolution of the open house

The more sophisticated the advertising, the more the events flourished



From car giveaways in the 1950s to today’s QR codes and virtual events, agents have used diverse strategies to draw buyers to open houses.

In the early 20th century, there were no exclusive agreements between a seller and a real estate agent. Any broker who knew of someone wanting to sell could participate in an “open listing” by planting his sign in the yard of that person and competing with agents from other brokerages who did the same. To the victor who obtained a buyer went the spoils of commission.

The rules began to change in 1919, when being a real estate broker now required a license. An agent might handle only one property at a time exclusively, but an “open for inspection” period could be used to introduce a model home or new community to the buying population. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Dallas homebuilder, Howdy Howard, hosted one of the most successful open houses of all time in the 1950s. During the first 12 days of the event, an estimated 100,000 people attended, drawn by free sodas and the ultimate prize for the buyer – a new Cadillac.

Soon, brokers began hiring additional agents who could handle multiple properties. Unlike Howard’s marathon open house, agents would now host them for a few hours at a time, usually on a Sunday, to whet the appetite of the buyer pool. 

Classified advertisements with a description of a property would be placed in a local newspaper and potential buyers would review them with their morning coffee to decide which houses to visit later in the day. 

Marketing in newspapers went from a few lines of black and white text to a photo of a home’s exterior, to a multi-page spread that included both photos of houses and the agents who represented them.

The more sophisticated the advertising became, the more the open house flourished as a marketing tool, not only for the home itself, but also for the agent and the brokerage. It allowed agents to prospect for buyers for that home and others, and converse with neighbors who might want to sell their homes as well. 

Soon, the sign-in sheet was born, used by the agent to capture the contact information of a potential client or customer and to let the seller know who had visited his home. While sign-in sheets or cards are still used, some agents have gravitated to electronic applications, using a tablet computer instead of paper for the same purpose.

Fast forward to the early 2000s in D.C., when open houses became the primary source of showing property. An agent would enter a property into the multiple listing service (MLS) on a Thursday, entertain no showings until Saturday, host an open house on Sunday afternoon, and call for offers either Sunday night or Monday. The open house allowed agents to send their buyers rather than accompany them and serve multiple clients at once.  

The delayed showing day strategy referenced above has since been supplanted by the MLS’s Coming Soon status. Agents can now email or text links to upcoming properties to their clients in advance of showing availability and the clients can view photos, read property descriptions and disclosures, and schedule future visits accordingly.

Enter COVID-19. Due to the proliferation of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, the real estate world had to accommodate new public health requirements. 

One of the first things to go was the open house. Even agent showings were constrained, with visitors limited to an agent plus two people and additional requirements for wearing masks and disposable shoe covers and gloves. 

Overlapping appointments were not allowed, showings were limited to 15 to 30 minutes, and bottles of hand sanitizer sprung up on kitchen counters everywhere.

Ultimately, technology and ingenuity provided new marketing avenues for agents that included 3-D virtual open houses, Facetime and Duo viewings, videos, property websites and QR codes. Many of these marketing techniques remain, even though traditional open houses are coming back post-lockdown.

But are they really necessary? Certainly not for all types of properties. 

I believe the days of using a public open house to procure a buyer are limited. Agent security has become a concern and the desire for in-person viewings during a specific day or time has waned. 

On the other hand, Internet marketing and social media have a much wider reach, so much so that some people now feel comfortable buying a home – probably the most expensive item they will ever purchase – without even stepping into it until after closing.

After all, if we can work in sweatpants or pajamas while Zooming corporate meetings, how can naked virtual reality house hunting be far behind?

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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D.C. homebuyers face hyper competitive market

Sellers in driver’s seat as region faces record low inventory



housing market, gay news, Washington Blade

With job growth rising during a period of aggressive government spending and historically low mortgage rates, the spring 2021 market sits at the lowest level of inventory since 1983.

Homebuyers in the D.C. area continue to face an incredibly competitive market. This is truly a seller’s market.

Lack of Inventory: Washington, D.C. has been in a gradually worsening housing shortage since the Great Recession. The area hasn’t had a six-month supply of homes for sale for almost 12 years. Now, we add a global pandemic that seriously altered what homeowners want out of their home, Wall Street on fire, and insanely low interest rates and we get a surge in motivated homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of homes nationwide reached a record low in December 2020, with just 1.07 million properties on the market. The DC metro area is even worse off than the national average with only one month’s supply of homes. That means if new listings were completely dried up, there would be no homes available in four weeks. On average, D.C. homes have been selling within 11 days, which is 15 days faster than this time in 2020.

Seller’s Market: The time is now for Washington, D.C. homeowners to seriously consider selling their homes if they have played with the idea. Experts predict 2021 will be another strong housing market with an increase in demand from existing homebuyers in search of larger homes and buyers who delayed purchasing a home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Zillow forecasts a nearly 30 percent annual growth in homes for sale in 2021. This would be the largest home sales growth since 1983. Zillow’s annual report stated, “Home price appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession, as the inventory crunch continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of homes for sale.”

D.C.’s Current Market: According to the NAR, in March of 2021, D.C. home prices had increased 4.1% compared to March 2020, for a median price of $635,000. There were 1,004 homes sold in March 2021, an increase from 842 at this time last year.

We are seeing many homes receive multiple offers within just a few days in the D.C. area. The average home is selling a little above 1% of the listing price and many hot homes are seeing large bidding wars and selling for 3% or more above the listing price; 42.7% of D.C. homes sold above list price in March of 2021. That is a 13.4% increase from last year at this time. Active inventory for March of 2021 was 1,457 homes, down 9% from March 2020. March 2021 also saw 991 homes sell in the D.C. area, an increase of 31% from February of 2021. March 2021’s total homes sold had a 19% increase from March 2020.

Buying a Home: In the current seller’s market, buying a home can be like playing a chess match. You need to know the rules and be strategic. It can seem more like winning than purchasing a home right now. If you find a home you want to buy, chances are you won’t be the only one making an offer. It is a seller’s market everywhere in the country right now and D.C. is no different. Be sure you know what you qualify for and what you can afford.

Conclusion: The NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association both project prices of existing homes to increase 5.9% in 2021. This may mean buyers will have to be more flexible than in the past. For example, making an offer contingent upon the sale of a current home may be harder than before. It’s also possible you will pay more than the list price. The D.C. real estate market is on fire and many homes are off the market within 24 hours of listing. For sellers, if you have been thinking of selling your home there is no better time than the present.


Khalil El-Ghoul is Principal Broker for Glass House Real Estate. Reach him at [email protected] or 571-235-4821. Glass House Real Estate is a modern, more affordable way to buy and sell a home in the D.C. Metro area. Learn more about what makes us different at

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Kick-ass crossovers

Still the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms



crossovers, gay news, Washington Blade

Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Crossovers keep wending their way into our driveways—and our hearts. After overtaking sedans, station wagons and minivans as the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms, crossovers are now taking aim at the most quintessential of American rides: the muscle car. With naughty looks and hepped-up engines, the two dynamite crossovers below are sure to blow your mind—and just maybe your budget.

Mpg: 12 city/17 highway
0 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds

For more than 20 years, the Dodge Durango has been a solid if nondescript family hauler. But this year the automaker jazzed up its midsize crossover with brawnier styling and the latest tech toys. And for the first time, Dodge is offering a limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat—a high-test model with the same hellacious Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger super coupe and Charger sport sedan. With 710 horsepower, this blazingly fast crossover can kick some serious ass, outrunning many a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The upgraded suspension provides more dynamic handling and cornering, as well as selectable steering for better grip. For straight-line acceleration and to prevent nasty fish-tailing, I simply flipped the “launch control” toggle switch. The massive Brembo brakes also were stellar, with stop-on-a-dime performance and flaming red calipers on each wheel. Another plus: the iconic Hellcat exhaust rumble could be heard blocks away—music to the ears of any auto aficionado. As with all Durangos, this bruiser has best-in-class towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, including more room than expected for third-row passengers. The steering wheel, dash, and trim accents now have trendy Euro styling, though it’s more VW than upscale Audi. And you can opt for flashy seatbelts and premium seats in a color Dodge calls Demonic Red, along with black velour floor mats and a soft-touch headliner. Other features include heated/ventilated seats, a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration and the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once. Options include a 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and rear-seat entertainment with Blue-Ray player. Alas, this is a limited-edition model and all 2,000 of these speed demons quickly sold out months ago. But there’s still hope: Dodge allocated some of the racy Durangos to select dealerships, so you can call around to see if any are still available. And you can always try social media to find a lucky Durango Hellcat owner who just might be willing to sell this rollicking ride, if the price is right.

Mpg: 17 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds

For decades, both the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover have been ubiquitous in the United States. Not so the smaller and less ostentatious Defender, often seen as a work-horse vehicle in BritBox reruns or action flicks like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But last year the Defender returned to these shores after nearly a quarter-century hiatus.

Available in two- or four-door models, both Defenders start around $50,000. My test vehicle was the new top-of-the-line Defender X, which added—yikes!—another $35,000 to the sticker price. The look on these crossovers is boxy chic, which allows for a ginormous amount of headroom, legroom and cargo space. Land Rover also added extra stowage areas and cubby holes, as well as transom windows and a sliding panoramic sunroof to keep things airy. While the cabin may be sparse and full of solid plastics, the walnut trim on the center console and door panels is quite elegant.

Land Rovers have a somewhat infamous reputation for less-than-stellar electronics, but the 10-inch touchscreen was crystal clear and synced up seamlessly with the infotainment system. Tricked out with a jet-black roof, hood, and side cladding, the press vehicle I test drove was painted a haughty Eiger Gray Metallic. It also came with thick all-terrain tires, adding to a slightly menacing vibe. A full-size spare is conveniently mounted on the vertical tailgate, which swings completely open like a refrigerator door for easy access. The Defender X may not be as lightning quick as a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but it’s still plenty fast. And this brute can tackle the toughest of terrains, thanks to locking differentials, hill-descent control and a standard air suspension that can raise the chassis 11.5 inches above the ground. Overall, the Defender X can’t quite hide its refined roots as a tony Land Rover. But as with the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, this burly crossover flexes some serious muscle.

Land Rover Defender X

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