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Local LGBT sports teams host a flurry of fall activities

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From left, Brooke Darlington, Eliza Yoder and Brian Jones at the second annual United Night Out. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

About 500 people from the LGBT community attended the second annual United Night Out event on Sept. 21 at RFK Stadium as the D.C. United ended up in a 2-2 tie with Chivas USA.

The event was hosted by the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and was part of the Night Out series presented by Team D.C. The D.C. Different Drummers performed before the game and the national anthem was sung by Justin Richey of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington.

Members of SMYAL and other groups were also included in the pre-game flag unveiling. After the game, D.C. United players Clyde Simms and Josh Wolff, donated their game jerseys to two United Night Out raffle winners. Simms and Wolff are featured in the “It Gets Better” video put out by D.C. United. They are the first Major League Soccer team to support the anti-bullying campaign. The video was recently broadcast on the cable sports channel, Comcast SportsNet. For more information on the event and to view the video, go to unitednightout.com.

All the fall LGBT sports leagues have kicked off their season play, but there’s always an opportunity to submit your name to a substitute player list. Among the teams offering a sub list are the Capital Area Rainbowlers Association, League of Women Bowlers and the Capital Tennis Association.

There are plenty of LGBT sports groups offering individual participation for the coming months. The D.C. IceBreakers will be hosting a skate and social at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Oct. 16 at 8:15 p.m. The cost to skate is $8 and skate rental is $3. All skill levels are welcome. After skating, the group heads to a local pub for a social hour.  Details are at dcicebreakers.com.

Ski-Bums have announced their 2012 event offerings for skiing and snowboarding. Upcoming trips include Salt Lake City, Beaver Creek, Sun Valley, Killington and more. Information on membership is at ski-bums.org.

Charm City Volleyball is hosting Wednesday social play at the Mt. Royal Recreation Center in Baltimore every week from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Teams are formed by 7 p.m. and all skill levels are welcome. Cost is $3 per session. They also host Sunday competitive and scrimmage play/clinics at the Volleyball House in Elkridge, Md., every week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $7 per session and North American Gay Volleyball Association teams are welcome to play. More information is at volleybaltimore.org.

The Adventuring Outdoors Group will be hiking Sunday at Difficult Run in Great Falls, Va. The hike will start from the parking lot on Old Georgetown Pike and head along the cascades of Difficult Run as it flows toward the Potomac. Then they’ll head upstream past the old George Washington canal ruins to lunch at one of the overlooks at Great Falls near the Visitors Center. After lunch they will continue back through the abandoned Potomac River channels via Old Carriage road and Swamp Trail. Total length of the hike is about 5 miles with an elevation gain of 250 feet. Bring lunch, beverages, bug spray around $5 for trip and transportation fees. The group will meet by the station attendant’s kiosk inside the Rosslyn Metro Station. The group can be found online at adventuring.org.

Rainbow Climbing D.C. can usually be found at the local rock climbing venues on Tuesday and Thursday nights and sometimes on weekends. Check out their Facebook page under Rainbow Climbing to see if they will be at Earth Treks in Rockville or Sportrock in Alexandria.

The D.C. Front Runners, celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, continue with their Tuesday and Thursday evening runs along with their Saturday and Sunday morning runs. The group meets at 23rd and P Streets except for Tuesdays when they meet at Union Station. The runners also host walks at the same locations on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Times are listed at dcfrontrunners.org.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Baltimore Pride in the Park

Annual celebration featured vendors, performers

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(Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

Baltimore Pride in the Park was held at Druid Hill Park on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)

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Photos

PHOTOS: “Portraits”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs at the Kennedy Center

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A scene from "Portraits," as performed in a technical rehearsal at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, June 15. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed “Portraits” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Sophie Zmorrod embracing life on the road in ‘Kite Runner’

First national tour comes to Eisenhower Theater on June 25

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Sophie Zmorrod (Photo courtesy of Zmorrod)

‘The Kite Runner’
June 25 – 30
The Kennedy Center
$39-$149
Kennedy-center.org

Newly single, Sophie Zmorrod is enjoying life on the road in the first national tour of “The Kite Runner,” Matthew Spangler’s play with music based on Khaled Hosseini’s gripping novel about damaged relationships and longed for redemption. 

“It’s a wonderful time for me,” says Zmorrod. “I’m past the breakup pain and feeling empowered to explore new cities. A lot of us in the cast are queer, so we figure out the scene wherever the show goes.” 

What’s more, the New York-based actor has fallen in love with the work. “I love how the play’s central character Amir is flawed. He is our antihero. He has faults. As a privileged boy in Kabul, he bears witness to his best friend’s assault and doesn’t intervene. He lives with that guilt for decades and gets that redemption in the end.” 

“He does what he can to right wrongs. For me who’s regretted things, and wished I could go back in time, it resonates. Watching someone forgive themselves and do the right thing is beautiful.” 

Via phone from Chicago (the tour’s stop before moving on to Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on June 25), Zmorrod, whose background is Lebanese, happily chats about sexuality, ethnicity, and acting. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Looking at your resume, I see you’ve been cast in roles traditionally played by men. And have you played queer characters? 

SOPHIE ZMORROD: Oh yes, both. Whether or not they’re written on the page as queer, they sometimes turn out that way. And that holds true for this show too.  

With “The Winter’s Tale” at Trinity Rep, I played Leontes — the king who banishes his wife — as a woman. So, in that production it was about two women and touched on the violence that women sometimes inflict on other women.

And there was Beadle Bamford in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” also at Trinity Rep; I played him as a woman who was masculine and wore a suit. It was a great opportunity to explore myself and gender expression. That was a really good experience. 

BLADE: Are you an actor who’s often be called in for queer roles? 

ZMORRAD: Not really. I’m what you might call straight passing. Sometimes I’ve had to advocate for my queerness. To be a part of something. 

Similarly with my ethnicity. I’m called in to audition for the white and Arab roles. It gets tricky because I’m not the exactly the white girl next door and I’m not exactly Jasmine from Disney’s “Aladdin” either. 

This is one of the reasons, I really want people to come see “The Kite Runner,” Audiences need to experience the reality of the wide diversity of Middle Eastern people on the stage. We’re all very different.

And not incidentally, from this 14-person cast, I’ve met some great people to add to those I know from the Middle Eastern affinity spaces and groups I’m connected to in New York.

BLADE: In “The Kite Runner” what parts do you play?

 ZMORRAD: Three characters. All women, I think. In the first act, I’m an elderly eccentric pomegranate seller in the Afghan market, waddling around, speaking in Dari [the lingua franca of Afghanistan]; and the second act, I’m young hip and sell records in a San Francisco market; and at the end, I’m a buttoned-down American immigration bureaucrat advising Amir about adoption.

BLADE:  Your training is impressive: BA cum laude in music from Columbia University, an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, and you’re also accomplished in opera and playwrighting, to name a few things. Does “The Kite Runner” allow you to flex your many muscles? 

ZMORROD: Very much. Playing multiple roles is always fun for an actor – we like malleability. Also, there are instruments on stage. I like working with the singing bowl; it’s usually used in yoga as a soothing sound, but here we save it for the dramatic, uncomfortable moments. I also sing from offstage. 

We are creating the world of the play on a very minimal set. Oh, and we do kite flying, and I’m able to use the some of the languages I speak. So yeah, lots of challenges. It’s great. 

BLADE: It sounds like you’re in a good place both professionally and personally.

ZMORROD: It’s taken a long time to feel comfortable. My being gay was never something I led with. But I’m on the journey and excited to be where I am, and who I am. 

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