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Calendar: Dec. 9

Parties, events, concerts and more through Dec. 15

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If you’re on Foursquare, make sure you’re following our “This Week” list to keep up with the week’s biggest events. You can follow the Blade too!

Dan Tepfer

Dan Tepfer plays the Mansion at Strathmore on Thursday. (Photo courtesy Strathmore.)

Friday, Dec. 9

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) is having an opening for the exhibit “Juxtapositions” featuring photographs by queer artist P.B. Groszmann conveying the diversity of the LGBT experience tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 2. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Siren returns after five months with a special holiday edition tonight at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) featuring DJs Majr, Madscience, Jeffrex and Donna. with an open rail vodka bar from 10 to 11 p.m. and $16 Smirnoff all-you-can-drink-all-night bracelets available until midnight. There’s a $6 cover for this 21-and-older event.

The American Ballet Theatre performs “The Nutcracker” today at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) at 1:30 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $150 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.

The Creative Alliance presents Victoria Vox and ellen cherrys tonight at the Patterson (3134 Eastern Ave.) in Baltimore at 8 p.m. Vox and cherrys play traditional holiday songs as well as originals. Tickets are $11 for members and $16 for general admission. To purchase tickets, visit creativealliance.org.

The Fridge (516 8th St., S.E.) is having an opening reception for a new exhibit, “Part and Parcel” tonight from 8 to 11 p.m. featuring works by Frank Adams, Chris Chen, Stephanie Kwak and more. Large works are on display with smaller pieces next to them wrapped in brown paper. Patrons will have the chance to purchase the larger work or take a chance on the smaller one. All wrapped works will remain covered until after they are purchased. For more information, visit thefridgedc.com.

Saturday, Dec. 10

The Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) presents Yvonne Caruthers giving a comprehensive history of “Messiah” performances throughout the years in “Searching for the Real Messiah” today at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) presents “Ice” tonight featuring DJ Hector Fonseca spinning and performances by The Dance Camp. There’s a $8 cover from 10 to 11 p.m. and $12 after 11. All attendees must be 21 or older.

The D.C. Rollergirls has a double header today at the D.C. Armory (2001 E. Capitol St., S.E.) with the Cherry Blossom Bombshells taking on the D.C. DemonCats in the first bout at 4 p.m. followed by the Majority Whips taking on the Scare Force One. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for kids ages 6 to 11 and free for those under 6. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit dcrollergirls.com.

S.h.e. productions presents ReHab, a monthly alternative dance party, featuring DJ Katrina tonight at Grand Central Disco and Sapphos (1001 N. Charles St.) in Baltimore. Doors open at 9 p.m. and there is a $5 cover for this 21-and-older event.

Mixtape D.C. is tonight at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.), a dance party for queer music lovers and their pals that features DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer playing an eclectic mix of electro, alt-pop, indie rock, house, disco, new wave and anything else danceable. There is a $10 cover for this event. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 11

Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) hosts “Rock-n-Shop,” a rock-and-roll garage sale with music by DJ Baby Alcatraz featuring everying from T-shirts to records and more. Doors open at 8 p.m. This is a free event.

Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.) presents Drag Brunch hosted by Shi-Queeta Lee today at 11 a.m. with a $20 brunch buffet, then stick around and watch the Washington Redskins take on the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens take on the Indiannapolis Colts today at 1 p.m.

National Symphony Orchestra Pops presents “The Perfect Gift” with the Canadian Tenors tonight at 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) Tickets range from $20 to $85 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.

Monday, Dec. 12

Busboys & Poets presents Monday night open mic poetry hosted by poet-in-residence Beny Blaq tonight at 8 p.m. in the Robeson room of its Shirlington location (4251 South Campbell Ave., Arlington). The list to perform is announced at 8 p.m. Wristbands are $4 and will be on sale starting at 10 a.m. in the Global Exchange store until sold out.

D.C.’s Gay Flag Football League presents Men’s Speed Dating tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. at Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.). There’s a $15 cover with $3 drink specials. Check in begins at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 13

The Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) presents the opening of its production of “Billy Elliot: The Musical” directed by Stephen Daldry and featuring music by Elton John, tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $150 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.

Busboys & Poets hosts a community meeting with Southern Poverty Law Center and Truth Wins Out to end “ex-gay” conversion therapy today at 6 p.m. in the Langston room of its 14th and V streets location (2021 14th Street, N.W.). Experts will be present to speak about the practice of conversion therapy and how to protect LGBT rights. RSVP is appreciated, but not required. Call 855-841-8356 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.

D.C. Bi Women will have its monthly dinner at Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) tonight from 7 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 14

Rainbow Response is holding its monthly meeting tonight at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) from 7 to 8 p.m.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) is having its annual employee show tonight at 8 p.m. when the staff will act and sing on stage to show appreciation during the holiday season and there will be an open bar after the show.

Anti-Defamation League’s Young Professionals Division presents “Taking on Bullying”in the Paul Porter Room at Arnold & Porter, LLP (555 12th St., N.W.). This event will feature a keynote address from Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department Education as well as testimonials from David Aponte, a student activist and former victim of bullying and more. RSVP is required as space is limited. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail [email protected].

Thursday, Dec. 15

Jazz pianist and Yamaha artist Dan Tepfer plays the Mansion at Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike) in North Bethesda tonight at 7:30 p.m., premiering new works with his performance of “Goldberg Variations/Variations,” his solo album using Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterpiece, the “Goldberg Variations.” Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at strathmore.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. 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. But I’m on the journey and excited to be where I am, and who I am. 

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