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Queery: Garrett Peck

The local author and Prohibition expert answers 20 gay questions



Garrett Peck (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Author Garrett Peck had drastically different experiences writing his two Prohibition-themed books.

“The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet,” his 2009 work, took six years. He wrote it first, then found a publisher. But the follow-up, “Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: How Dry We Weren’t,” was done in six weeks and came out in March. Obviously he had a good running start on the topic from the first book, but it was still a mammoth undertaking.

“There’s nothing like a deadline to focus you,” he says. “This was around last Thanksgiving, so there went my Christmas, but I’m actually really happy with the way it turned out.”

Look for him Tuesday at the National Press Club for its annual “Book Fair and Authors’ Night” on Tuesday when he and about 90 other authors will sell and sign their latest books. It’s at 5:30 p.m. in the ballroom. Tickets are $5 at the door and the public is welcome.

And yes, Peck enjoys drinking himself. His favorites vary by season and the meal at hand. It good be whisky, a Manhattan or beer.

“I couldn’t pick a favorite,” he says. “It’s like asking for my favorite ice cream or favorite song. I like too many to choose a favorite.”

The 43-year-old Sacramento, Calif., native works as a market analyst for Verizon by day, though he’d love to write full time if possible. He says the publishing industry is in too much flux for that to be realistic. For now, he’s happy to “just keep getting published.”

He came to the area for grad school 17 years ago and stayed. Peck is single and lives in Arlington. He enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga and cooking in his free time.

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

I came out in 1995. My dad was the hardest to tell, being from the panhandle of Nebraska, but he took it pretty well. I had told the other members of my family first, so I knew where they all stood.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Larry Slagle. He’s a dear friend of mine, and he’s been out since the 1950s. He reminds me how important it is to maintain perspective — that there was once a time when being out could be hazardous to one’s career or life, and how far we’ve come in so short a time. The days when gays are fully inclusive in society truly cannot be far away — we will live to see it. It will be a great day.

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

I tend to like places that are quality drinking establishments, where they make the cocktails by hand rather than the soda gun, and where the music isn’t too loud to talk. I’m awfully fond of The Passenger in Mount Vernon, as well as Bar Pilar on 14th Street. Nightclubs aren’t so much my thing — I can’t seem to stay awake past 11. As for the most fun I’ve ever had at a nightspot, that was the short-lived event called “Bent,” which thrived for one year in 1996 at the Andalusian Dog at 14th and U. They played ’80s retro music, and when we danced, it felt like the floor would cave in.

Describe your dream wedding.

I honestly haven’t given this much thought. I’m single, and probably a little too comfortable with that status for my own good. So I don’t know…maybe something fun and frugal, like a weekend in Provincetown with close friends.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

History. I’ve got a long list of book topics I’d like to write, all historic non-fiction. I also lead this oddball historic tour called the Temperance Tour, which hits Prohibition-era sites in the nation’s capital. We go places that most Washingtonians have walked past but never really noticed. Did you know we have a Temperance Fountain, right at 7th & Penn? (

What historical outcome would you change?

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He’s my favorite president, and for a man who had only served as a one-term congressman, he turned out to be a remarkable wartime leader with a real vision for the country. He held the Union together against pro-slavery forces that wanted to tear it apart. I really wish he could have lived and seen through his vision for Reconstruction.

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

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. I had spent the year before in Germany at a German armed forces officers college in Hamburg. I had traveled a number of times to East Germany and seen how oppressive the communist regime was. That the wall would come down through nonviolent resistance was simply stunning. It was the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a miracle.

On what do you insist?

That we be see the humanity in all of God’s children, including people you don’t really like or would even consider an enemy. When was the last time you acknowledged a homeless person or offered them a kind word? Their lives may be broken, but they are no less valuable as people than you and me.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“Reading a book – one with pages. So anachronistic.”

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

“Throwing Spaghetti at a Wall: My Life as a Writer”

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

No way. And miss the off-chance that Ricky Martin might need a step-father for his children?!

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Is there an afterlife? I hope, but who honestly knows? I’m Christian (I go to Foundry UMC), but am increasingly agnostic the more I learn about the actual origins of the church. … But I’ve seen enough things in my life that I can’t quite explain, and while I have doubts, I’m willing to let God have the benefit of my doubts. And yeah, I see a book about this in my future.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Don’t despair, whatever setbacks come our way. We’re going to win this.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Publishing books is akin to walking across hot coals. It’s not something you do overnight or over a month, but over years. It is a struggle. But it is oh so totally worth it.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That all of us have toy dogs like pugs and coddle them like children. Some of us actually have cats that we coddle like children.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot” was absolutely hilarious and way ahead of its time — and it took place during Prohibition. It’s one of those movies you watch and fall off the couch laughing. Jack Lemmon seemed to honestly enjoy being in drag.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Tipping. It would be nice if service were included in the price, just like in Europe. It would also be nice if bartenders and waiters earned a living wage, healthcare and retirement benefits — most simply don’t, which is why it’s a job (rather than a career) for the young.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

The National Book Award, of course! (That’s like winning the Oscar for Best Picture.)

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That it’s OK to come out. That people will still love you and accept you for who you are. And as difficult and worrisome as the process can be, it has a huge impact on all around you. Coming out is like dropping a rock in a pond: the ripples will carry you forward through your entire life.

Why Washington?

I came here for grad school and fell in love with the city in a week. It’s a great place to have a career, the gay community is sizable and integrated into the larger society, and we have so much culture — much of it free. For us history dorks, it is ground zero. People are better educated here and have a greater awareness of our past than most other cities.

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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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