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Queery: Patrick Vanas

The caterer/chef answers 20 gay questions



(Blade photo by Michael Key)

Patrick Vanas is one of the lucky ones who gets to make a career out of his hobby and passion. After culinary school, cooking at various companies and country clubs — even a stint at JR.’s — he’s run his own eponymous catering company ( for about 10 years.

“You get to see the reactions right then and there,” he says. “It’s instant gratification and it’s just what I’ve always done. I started in junior high and was like, ‘OK, I really love this.’ I was winning medals and competitions and thinking, ‘Wow, this is really great.’ People are happy when they eat and you have to eat, so it just works.”

The 40-year-old Rosebush, Mich., native, lived in Charleston, S.C. for about five years before coming to Washington nearly 16 years ago.

Despite the rocky economy, Vanas says business is good. He purposefully keeps it modest so he can do all the work himself. Most jobs come by word of mouth. He’s planning to unveil a new component to his business next month at an event at Madame Tussauds.

Vanas has been in Shaw for a while but just moved into a new condo a couple weeks ago. He’s single and enjoys reading, movies, wine, cooking, travel and golf in his free time.

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

Sixteen years. It was hard to tell my parents. I grew up on a dairy farm in rural America where it was just not really accepted, and telling them was scary and stressful.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

I would have to say Greg Louganis because of what he has gone through and I can kind of relate. Plus he is sexy hot!

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

As someone in the hospitality business for 20 plus years I have been to many cool places, but as an all around fun place with service and no attitude I would have to say — my place when I throw a party. There are many places that I enjoy — Black Fox Lounge, La Tomate, JR.’s, Circa, Badlands/Apex, Nation and Cobalt but it’s really about being with your good friends and enjoying people that makes a place fun.

Describe your dream wedding.

I always thought the National Zoo’s Outside Bird Flight Cage was really beautiful (early fall leaves are just barely changing) with as many people it will hold. Then we all move to a venue that has outdoor space for dancing and drinking and great food made by my chef friends. Or I would have it at a faraway place (tropical/snow?) for those that want/care to join.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?


What historical outcome would you change?

It’s hard to choose, there are so many that were wrong to happen, but I guess they were needed for human evaluation and growth.

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

My first concert. I was the chef/manager at JR.’s and another manager and I got a limo and our dates and went to see Cher at Nissan Pavilion. I loaded the car with all kinds of food and we stopped and loaded the car with alcohol. The owner and a few others got a limo also and off we went. What an awesome night, I can remember jumping up and down like I was a teenager.

On what do you insist?

Respect, kindness and forgiveness

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Going to dinner at Chef Todd Gray’s new restaurant “Watershed” with best friends Jonathan and Keith. Or maybe a birthday posting to a friend. Maybe something about my new condo. I do not post often because I do not want everyone to know all my business. Some people post something every few minutes telling everyone all.

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

“Life of a Chef and I’m Not Done Yet”

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


What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

Vampires, aliens and some other higher power- whatever you care to call him/her.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

It is great that we are moving forward on so many causes and fronts, but too often these organizations/leaders forget about many people, not everyone can afford the pricey events tickets. More events should be planned around the entire LGBT community and be a part of the community. If we are going to be strong as a group make it more financially accessible. Power is in numbers.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Good food, wine, family, friends, love, sex and shoes. (No order and yeah, my feet are burning!)

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

None really. I am a very laid back guy when it comes to life and social things, I was not comfortable earlier in life with myself but 15-plus years ago I decided that I would not let anyone walk all over me nor worry about what others thought of me.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

I have three: “The Birdcage,” “Short Bus” and “Big Eden.”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

I think the question should be what is the most underrated. The customs we have in this country for the most part have been adapted from other cultures and we need to embrace and use them more strictly.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I have many cool trophies and awards, but a prize? My hands are my prize they give me the touch and molding capabilities to cook, which allows me to make people smile, when they take that first bite.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

Life moves faster than you think.

Why Washington?

My first partner/BF decided to move here after taking a vacation and fell in love with the area. My friends have changed and grown as I have, but Washington is still beautiful and has so much to offer. People including myself, get caught up in the day to day and forget what is around them and the diversity on all levels that this city has to show and teach us.





Celebrity News

Anne Heche dies after removal from life support

Actress dated Ellen DeGeneres in late 1990s



(Screenshot/YouTube Inside Edition)

Actress Anne Heche died after she was removed from life support on Sunday, nearly two weeks after her Mini-Cooper crashed through a two-story house in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood. Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department believe she was intoxicated at the time.

She sustained a severe anoxic brain injury along with severe burns and was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, near Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

The 53-year-old actress who was a star of films like “Donnie Brasco,” the political satire “Wag the Dog” and the 1998 remake of “Psycho,” had been declared legally dead under California law on Friday, however, her family kept her alive long enough to be an organ donor.

In a statement Friday, the LAPD announced that: “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case. Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case. When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.” LAPD detectives had previously made public that investigators into the crash found narcotics in a blood sample taken from Heche.

The actress’s family released a statement on Friday:

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact,” the statement added.

Heche was married to camera operator Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009. The two had a son, Homer, together. She had another son, named Atlas, during a relationship with actor James Tupper, her co-star on the TV series “Men In Trees.”

Laffoon left a moving tribute on an Instagram reel in which he also gave an update on how their 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon is coping with the loss of his mother.

“I loved her and I miss her, and I’m always going to,” he said adding: “Homer is okay. He’s grieving, of course, and it’s rough. It’s really rough, as probably anybody can imagine. But he’s surrounded by family and he’s strong, and he’s gonna be okay.”

“Rest In Peace, Mom, I love you, Homer,” the actor’s 20-year-old son, Homer, said in a statement after Heche was declared legally dead on Friday.“ My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” read the statement. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully, my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”

Tupper, a Canadian actor who starred alongside Heche in “Men in Trees,” had a 13-year-old son, Atlas, with her. “Love you forever,” Tupper, 57, wrote on his Instagram post’s caption with a broken heart emoji, which shared an image of the actress from Men in Trees.

Between 1997 and 2000, Heche was also in a relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres posted on Twitter. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.” The year after her break-up with the comedian, in September 2001, Heche recounted in her memoir “Call Me Crazy,” about her lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse.

KTLA’s entertainment reporter Sam Rubin noted that over the past two decades, Heche’s career pivoted several times. In 2017, she hosted a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Jason Ellis called “Love and Heche.”

In 2020, Heche made her way into the podcast world. She launched “Better Together” which she cohosted alongside Heather Duffy Boylston. The show was described as a way to celebrate friendship. 

She also worked in smaller films, on Broadway, and on TV shows. She recently had recurring roles on the network series “Chicago P.D.,” and “All Rise” and was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

People magazine reported that several of Heche’s acting projects are expected to be released posthumously.

These include “Girl in Room 13,” expected to be released on Lifetime in September, “What Remains,” scheduled to be released in 2023, and HBO Max TV series “The Idol,” created by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.

In her Instagram post from earlier this year Heche stands between her sons Atlas, 13 and Homer, 20.

From KTLA:

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Celebrity News

‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

George Takei tweets ‘we lived long and prospered together’



(Screenshot/YouTube The Smithsonian Channel)

She was a groundbreaking cultural icon who broke barriers in a time of societal upheaval and battling for the civil rights of Black Americans. An actress, a mother and thoroughly devoted to the legions of fans of “Star Trek,” Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at 89.

The announcement on her Facebook page by her son read:

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.

Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper,

Kyle Johnson

Nichols was born in Robbins, Ill., in 1932, according to her IMDb page. Legendary composer Duke Ellington “discovered” Nichols and helped her become a singer and dancer. She later turned to acting, and joined Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek,” where she played Uhura from 1966 to 1969.

Out actor George Takei who played ‘Sulu’ on Star Trek the original series with Nichelle Nichols who played Lt. Nyota Uhura, at a Star Trek convention in this undated photo. (George Takei/Twitter)

It was in that role of Uhura that Nichols not only broke barriers between races, most famously her onscreen kiss, the first between a Black person and a white person, with castmate William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk, but she also became a role model for young Black women and men inspiring them to seek out their own places in science, technology, and other human endeavors.

In numerous interviews over the years Nichols often recalled how the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a fan of the show and praised her role and personally encouraged her to stay with the series.

When the first series ended Nichols went on to become a spokesperson for NASA, where she “helped recruit and inspire a new generation of fearless astronauts.” She later reprised her role in several successful “Star Trek” films and continued to advocate for the advancement of Black Americans especially in the areas of science and technology.

Formerly a NASA deputy administrator, Frederick Gregory, now 81, told the Associated Press he once saw an advertisement in which Nichols said “I want you to apply for the NASA program.”

“She was talking to me,” he recounted. The U.S. Air Force pilot would apply and later become the first African American shuttle pilot.

President Joe Biden weighed in Sunday afternoon on her passing in a statement issued by the White House:

In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.
A daughter of a working-class family from Illinois, she first honed her craft as an actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country and the world performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and giving life to the words of James Baldwin.
During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.
Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society.

Nichols son said that services will be private for family members and her closest friends.

In 2008 the actress at a news conference, coordinated by the filmmakers of the motion picture “TRU LOVED,” in honor of the more than 900 students at Los Angeles’ Miguel Contreras Learning Complex’s School of Social Justice who participated in the GLSEN Day of Silence.

Nichelle Nichols speaks on LGBTQ rights:

Her fellow castmate and life long friend, openly Out actor George Takei shared his sadness on hearing of Nichols’ passing on Twitter:

From the September 2016 edition of the Smithsonian Channel: “Star Trek’s decision to cast Nichelle Nichols, an African American woman, as major character on the show was an almost unheard-of move in 1966. But for black women all over the country, it redefined the notions of what was possible.”

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols on Uhura’s Radical Impact:

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Emma Corin becomes first nonbinary person featured on cover of American Vogue

The star of The Crown opened up about their identity.



Emma Corrin Jamie Hawkesworth/Vogue

Emma Corin was announced as the cover star of the August edition of Vogue. It’s the first time a nonbinary person is featured on the cover of American Vogue.

Corin posted the cover photo and wrote, “My grin really says it all! A huge honour to be your August cover.”

In early 2021, Corin quietly came out as a queer and nonbinary, changing pronouns to “she/they” in their instagram bio. Currently Corin sticks to pronouns “they/them.”

“I feel much more seen when I’m referred to as ‘they,’ but my closest friends, they will call me ‘she,’ and I don’t mind, because I know they know me,” Corin explained during the interview with Vogue.

Corin stated that they’ve still gone on dates with various kinds of people and set no limit on who they date. “I like people,” they simply said and shrugged.

Corin also shared some of their dating experiences. “My first date with a girl, they were like, Oh! You’re a baby queer!” Corin said, “It was amazing. We actually didn’t end up seeing each other again, but she really gave me the lowdown.”

Besides, Corin was frank about their conflicting feelings towards gender and sexuality issues. “I’m working out all this complex gender and sexuality stuff. And yet, I’m seeing a guy? That feels very juxtaposed, even if I’m very happy.”

Corin is known for playing Diana on the Netflix series The Crown.

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