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Best of Gay D.C. 2011: NIGHTLIFE

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Best Gay-Friendly Straight Bar
Tattoo Bar

“We pride ourselves on our diverse crowd and we welcome all,” says Scott Eustace, general manager of Tattoo. “We have no specific demographic night, basically it is come one come all.”

Tattoo Bar is an edgy, hip, rock ‘n’ roll entertainment venue with an intimate and accepting feel. Tattoo Bar beckons the rock lover to come enjoy an evening of great music, good company and excellent customer service. A diversity of musical genres makes it a true pioneer of the “Party Rock” theme in the D.C. nightlife scene.

Tattoo Bar also provides a place to release your creative side. During Halloween weekend, for example, Friday is Rehab: Triage, a sexy nurse costume contest and Saturday, a True Blood costume contest.

“We are getting ready to start a retro ‘80s and ‘90s night,” Eustace says. “Our main promoter is gay and is he doing a great job getting the word out to everyone.”

Rocking a 90-inch projection screen and seven high-definition TVs, Tattoo Bar provides visual entertainment as well as some of the best music in D.C. Whether it’s the music videos, various images of tattooed people as artwork, motorcycle chains or the infamous “ghost rider” crashing the party over the bar, there’s always plenty to see at Tattoo Bar.

“This is really great the readers of the Washington Blade have selected us. We are thrilled,” Eustace says. Tattoo Bar is owned by the Michael Romeo Group. (DP)
TATOO BAR
1413 K St., N.W.
Washington, DC
202-408-9444
tattoobardc.com

Best Maryland Bar
Club Hippo

Gay owned and operated, Club Hippo was established in 1972 in the heart of Mount Vernon, an area commonly known as Baltimore’s gay district. Club Hippo has always been supportive of the local LGBT community. Wednesday nights, for example, is bingo night, when a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore.

Club Hippo (Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Also, the Hippo is known for its large dance floor and awesome sound system. On Friday and Saturday nights, club goers can dance until 2 a.m.

For “Glee” junkies, Tuesday night provides an opportunity to watch the show with other friends. And Thursday nights are devoted to hip-hop. (DP)
Club Hippo
1 West Eager St.
Baltimore
410-547-0069
clubhippo.com

Best Place to Meet Women
Lure/Bare at Cobalt

Bare, a monthly lesbian event at Cobalt, celebrated its second anniversary in January and is still going strong.

Lure (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Presented by Ladies of Lure, the event is sometimes given a different spin and will often have special celebrity guests like cast members from “The Real L Word.” There’s the annual White Party in July and a Pride edition in June.

“This event [is] a place where you can come with friends, meet new ones, or just dance the night away,” says Karen Diehl of Lure.

The latest edition of Bare was a joint effort with Mautner Project to raise funds for the organization in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (JE)

Best Dance Club
Town

Town Danceboutique is the champ here. This is Town’s fourth win in this category and counting Ba’Naka and the Ladies of Town wins, Town now has 14 Blade awards.
Town Danceboutique
2009 8th St. N.W.
202-234-TOWN
towndc.com

Best Virginia Bar
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Some years we’ve just given one non-D.C. gay bar an award and called the category “Best Out-of-D.C. Bar.” Other years, like this one, we’ve given one award for Virginia and another for Maryland. No matter what we’ve called it, Freddie’s Beach Bar has never lost. This is the Crystal City, Va., bar’s 10th consecutive win in this category and its 15th Blade Best Of award overall.

Freddie's Beach Bar (Blade photo by Michael Key)

But it’s not quite the no-brainer it might once have been as Freddie’s isn’t the sole Northern Virginia gay bar as it was for years. Herndon’s So Addictive Lounge is now part of the scene. Freddie’s owner Freddie Lutz says he feels no sense of competition with So Addictive and has enjoyed visiting there several times.

“I don’t think of them as competition at all,” he says. “I think they’re a great addition to Virginia. There are so many people out that way so they’re really increasing the diversity there, which I think is just great. They’re getting even further down into the conservative territory so I really salute them. I’ve been there several times and their owner, Dewey, has been here. We’re very friendly.”

Lutz says he’s often reminded of how important it is to keep a gay presence in the anti-gay state.
“A couple years ago at Pride, somebody came to our booth and said, ‘Why should we support a bar in Virginia, they’re so terrible,” Lutz says. “I said that’s exactly why. How are we ever going to make any progress if we don’t have some gay presence here.”

Next up for Freddie’s is a full weekend of Halloween festivities. Visit the bar online for details. (JD)
Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 South 23rd St.
Crystal City, VA
703-685-0555
freddiesbeachbar.com

Best Happy Hour/Best Neighborhood Bar
JR.’s

JR.’s, the popular 17th Street staple, is celebrating its 25th anniversary and its 18th and 19th Blade Best Of awards. The Eric Little-owned bar (he also owns Cobalt) holds the all-time record for most Blade Best Of awards.
Despite its record, manager Dave Perruzza sounds surprised.

JR.'s (Blade photo by Henry Linser)

“Wow, we won two things?” he says. “I think it’s great, especially on the year of our 25th anniversary.”
Talk of the bar possibly moving has been rumbling throughout the rumor mill.

Perruzza says it won’t happen “anytime soon. It all depends if we find a great space. We are looking to grow, though.” (JD)
JR.’s
1519 17th St., N.W.
202-328-0090
jrswdc.com

Best Place to Meet Men
Nellie’s Sports Bar

This is Nellie’s fourth Blade Best Of award. It and JR.’s go back and forth on this category and the neighborhood favorite. This year, JR.’s got the neighborhood prize (Nellie’s won it last year) but Nellie’s won’t go home empty handed. Owner Doug Schantz sounds amused.

Nellie's Sports Bar (Blade photo by Pete Exis)

“Nellie’s is extremely proud to have received this honor from the Blade,” he says. “We would also like to throw in that we are a great place for people to meet in general, not just for men.”

He’s also quick to thank customers.

“They’ve really made Nellie’s what it is today,” he says. “As one can tell from looking at our walls, we take pride in being of and part of the Washington community.”

Nellie’s is almost always a happening spot, feeding off the popularity of nearby Town and the 9:30 club, both repeat winners as well. Located just about where U Street N.W. joins up with Florida Avenue, Nellie’s had perhaps its most delightful moment in the sun earlier this year when Nellie herself — actress Alison Arngrim from TV’s “Little House on the Prairie” — held a book signing there gamely posing with fans in her Goldilocks wig and prominently sporting a brooch that spelled out her character’s reputation: bitch. (JD)
Nellie’s Sports Bar
900 U St., N.W.
nelliesdc.com

Best Live Music
9:30 club

The 9:30 club offers great opportunities to get up close and personal to major celebs (arrive early and you can stand right in front of the stage), though it’s not a place to sit back and relax to enjoy a show.

9:30 Club (Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo)

Seats are sparse and bars open throughout the evening can contribute to a rowdy crowd. But the sound system is great and mostly drowns out the talkers. And there’s an immediacy and energy to the venue the city’s other mid-size venues, like DAR Constitution Hall, can’t match. It draws big names and for those who do like to drink at shows, the bar boasts a staggering array of beers on tap with about 60 to choose from.

Just in the past couple weeks, acts as diverse as country legend Loretta Lynn and gay ally extraordinaire Cyndi Lauper gave powerful performances there.

And it’s wildly popular with Blade readers. This is the venue’s sixth consecutive win in this category. (JD)
9:30 club
815 V St., N.W.
930.com

Best Rehoboth Bar
Aqua Grill

It’s not uncommon to find yourself waiting in line on summer nights to get into Rehoboth’s Aqua Grill, the post-beach/pre-dinner place to see and be seen. Crowds start gathering at happy hour and by 6:30 the festive outdoor deck and sandy areas are packed with tanned and primped gay men.

But Aqua is more than cocktails and tank top-clad boys. It’s also a restaurant offering a nice selection of seafood (the “Bucket of Love” is particularly good, with steamed clams served with ginger and red pepper), sandwiches and entrees.
The space is inviting and the food is good, but the main attraction tends to be the staff — bartenders and bar backs, who are often shirtless or in revealing costumes depending on the night’s theme. Whether you’re looking for drinks, hot men or dinner, Aqua’s the place. Aqua is now closed for the season but will reopen in the spring.
AQUA GRILL
57 Baltimore Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
302-226-9001
aquagrillrehoboth.com

Best Cocktail
Lemon Squeeze at Duplex Diner

Kevin Lee, new owner of the renowned Duplex Diner, has one word for the Lemon Squeeze: “It’s dangerous.”
This is a big comeback year for Duplex — this is its first Blade award since 2005. It was a staple in the early years of these awards with seven previous wins.

According to Lee, the Lemon Squeeze has been served at the Diner for several years, but lately it has taken on a life of its own. “It’s just a vodka lemonade,” Lee notes, “but you don’t taste the vodka. It goes down easy.”

It’s easily the most popular drink at this popular establishment. In fact, it has spawned imitators. There’s a version that swaps out the vodka for bourbon, and variations that replace the lemonade with orange or lime juice. The Orange Squeeze will be the feature of the Diner’s new Sunday Brunch, a tradition that Lee is pleased to bring back after a nine-year hiatus.

Lee has made other changes at the diner, which is gay-owned. The new menu features some updated dishes, but the Diner still serves generous portions of everyone’s favorite comfort foods. The kitchen is now under the direction of Mark Mulvey who moved to D.C. from Charleston, S.C. Lee says, “He’s added a Southern flair to some of the dishes, but the food is still delicious.” (BTC)
Duplex Diner
2004 18th St., N.W.
202-265-9599
duplexdiner.com

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Celebrity News

Anne Heche dies after removal from life support

Actress dated Ellen DeGeneres in late 1990s

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(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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‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

George Takei tweets ‘we lived long and prospered together’

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(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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Miscellaneous

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

The star of The Crown opened up about their identity.

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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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