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Calendar: Dec. 16

Concerts, meetings, parties and more through Dec. 24

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The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra plats the Mansion at Strathmore on Sunday. (Photo courtesy Strathmore)

TODAY (Friday)

The Stein Club is having its annual holiday celebration tonight at Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams (1502 14th St., N.W.) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be an open white cosmo-and-white wine bar as well as complimentary hors d’oeuvres. There is a suggested donation of $25 for this event.

Girls Rock! D.C. is having its holiday party tonight at Dollhouse (1429 Madison St., N.W.) from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. with DJs Alex D-B and Alpha Betts. This is a bring-your-own-beverages-booze-and-baked goods party. For more information, visit girlsrockdc.org.

Team D.C. presents its fourth annual Holiday Extravaganza for D.C. Gay Sports tonight at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There’s no cover, free food and happy hour drink prices. For more information, visit teamdc.org.

DJs Aaron Riggins, Della Volla and AVM will be spinning at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) tonight for “Pop Goes the World,” an international dance party starting at 10 p.m. There is a $5 cover.

Gay/Bash!, a “queer night of rock and pop gems” with DJs Joshua and Dean, is tonight at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.). Admission is $5 and doors open at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 17

D.C. Leather Pride is holding a fundraiser tonight at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring Mr. D.C. Leather. There will be drink specials and raffle tickets for $1 each.

Youth are invited to the Stereo Chromatic GSA Youth Dance tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Clarendon Presbyterian Church (1305 N. Jackson St.) in Arlington. There is a $2 entry fee and snacks will be provided.

Zoom Lesbian Excursions presents Christmas in Morocco, a seven-course Moroccan meal at Marrakesh Restaurant (617 New York Ave., N.W.) tonight at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 to be paid at the venue. For more information, visit phatgirlchic.com/zoom/index.html.

Phase 1 (525 8th St., S.E.) is having a night of queer music tonight with The Lost Bois, SolRose and Angie Head from D.C. as well as Constance Sick and Eli Conley. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Lure D.C. presents “Bare: How the Grinch Stole Bare” tonight at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. featuring DJs Rosie and Keenan Orr. The best dressed Grinch look-a-like wins $100. For more information, visit Lure’s Facebook at facebook.com/lurewdc. Attendees must be 21 or older.

Will Eastman’s dance party “Bliss” returns to U Street Music Hall (1115 U St., N.W.) tonight with Chris Nitti and Richard Richard. There is a $10 cover and attendees who are 18 to 20 must purchase tickets in advance. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ustreetmusichall.com.

Sunday, Dec. 18

SAGE Metro D.C. is co-sponsoring a workshop presents by AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly on understanding the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Phase 1 (525 8th St., S.E.) is having an open mic night tonight from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. All kinds of performers are welcomed. There is no cover to this event.

The National Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s “Messiah” today at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) at 1 p.m. Ticket range from $30 to $85 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.

Busboys & Poets presents “Sunday Kind of Love,” an open mic night celebrating LGBT Jewish poetry featuring Yermiyahu Ahron Taub and readings from “Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry” with editor Julie R. Enszer and contributor, Eryca Kasse tonight at 5 p.m. in the Robeson room of its Shirlington location (4251 S Campbell Ave.) in Arlington. There is a $5 suggested donation.

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra play “A Bohemian Christmas” today at the Mansion at Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike) in North Bethesda at 8:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at strathmore.org.

Monday, Dec. 19

The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents “Christmas Music: Holiday Treasures from Russia” tonight at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $65 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org. There will be two other performances on Wednesday and Dec. 24.

Ledroit Park is having its holiday party at Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.) tonight from 5 to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 20

The Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) presents 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.

Join Burgundy Crescent Volunteers to help pack safer sex kits from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at FUK!T’s packing location, Green Lantern, 1335 Green Ct., N.W.

Wednesday, Dec. 21

“A Very Faerie Yule 2011” is tonight at the Open Hearth Foundation (1502 Massachusetts Ave., S.E.) from 7 to 9 p.m. Hot and heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and beverages will be served. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

Radio one presents “Know Your Status” concert at 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. hosted by Wale and featuring Chuck Brown and more. Tickets are available for free when tested at one of the D.C. Department of Health’s participating testing sites. For a list of site and more details, visit dctakesonhiv.com.

Thursday, Dec. 22

Trixie and Monkey’s seventh annual “Holiday Spectac-U-Thon” is tonight at the Patterson at 8 p.m. The neo-burlesque show will feature acrobatic antics, trapeze and more. Tickets are $22 for general admission and $17 for Creative Alliance members. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit creativealliance.org.

The Washington Chorus presents “A Candlelight Christmas” tonight at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $65 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.

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Photos

PHOTOS: DCGFFL 25th Anniversary Party

Gay flag football league marks milestone at Penn Social

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The D.C. Gay Flag Football league held a party celebrating their 25th season at Penn Social on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) held a 25th season anniversary party at Penn Social on Saturday, Sept. 23. Proceeds from the event benefited the LGBTQ youth services organization SMYAL as well as the D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Books

New book goes behind the scenes of ‘A League of Their Own’

‘No Crying in Baseball’ offers tears, laughs, and more

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(Book cover image courtesy of Hachette Books)

‘No Crying in Baseball: The Inside Story of ‘A League of Their Own’
By Erin Carlson
c.2023, Hachette Books
$29/320 pages

You don’t usually think of Madonna as complaining of being “dirty all day” from playing baseball. But that’s what the legendary diva did during the shooting of “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 movie, beloved by queers.

“No Crying in Baseball,” the fascinating story behind “A League of Their Own,” has arrived in time for the World Series. Nothing could be more welcome after Amazon has cancelled season 2 of its reboot (with the same name) of this classic film.

In this era, people don’t agree on much. Yet, “A League of Their Own” is loved by everyone from eight-year-old kids to 80-year-old grandparents.

The movie has strikes, home runs and outs for sports fans; period ambience for history buffs; and tears, laughs and a washed-up, drunk, but lovable coach for dramady fans.

The same is true for “No Crying in Baseball.” This “making of” story will appeal to history, sports and Hollywood aficionados. Like “All About Eve” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “A League of Their Own” is Holy queer Writ.

Carlson, a culture and entertainment journalist who lives in San Francisco, is skilled at distilling Hollywood history into an informative, compelling narrative. As with her previous books, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy” and “Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep,” “No Crying in Baseball,” isn’t too “educational.” It’s filled with gossip to enliven coffee dates and cocktail parties.

“A League of Their Own” is based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). From 1943 to 1954, more than 600 women played in the league in the Midwest. The league’s players were all white because the racism of the time prohibited Black women from playing. In the film, the characters are fictional. But the team the main characters play for – the Rockford Peaches – was real.

While many male Major and Minor League Baseball players were fighting in World War II, chewing gum magnate Philip K. Wrigley, who owned the Chicago Cubs, founded the league. He started the AAGPBL, “To keep spectators in the bleachers,” Carlson reports, “and a storied American sport–more important: his business afloat.” 

In 1943, the Office of War Information warned that the baseball season could be “scrapped” “due to a lack of men,” Carlson adds.

“A League of Their Own” was an ensemble of women’s performances (including Rosie O’Donnell as Doris, Megan Cavanagh as Marla, Madonna as Mae, Lori Petty as Kit and Geena Davis as Dottie) that would become legendary.

Girls and women  still dress up as Rockford Peaches on Halloween.

Tom Hanks’s indelible portrayal of coach Jimmy Dugan, Gary Marshall’s depiction of (fictional) league owner Walter Harvey and Jon Lovitz’s portrayal of Ernie have also become part of film history.

Filming “A League of Their Own,” Carlson vividly makes clear, was a gargantuan effort.  There were “actresses who can’t play baseball” and “baseball players who can’t act,” Penny Marshall said.

The stadium in Evansville, Ind., was rebuilt to look like it was in the 1940s “when the players and extras were in costume,” Carlson writes, “it was easy to lose track of what year it was.”

“No Crying in Baseball” isn’t written for a queer audience. But, Carlson doesn’t pull any punches. 

Many of the real-life AAGPBL players who O’Donnell met had same-sex partners, O’Donnell told Carlson.

“When Penny, angling for a broad box-office hit chose to ignore the AAGPGL’s queer history,” Carlson writes, “she perpetuated a cycle of silence that muzzled athletes and actresses alike from coming out on the wider stage.”

“It was, as they say, a different time,” she adds.

Fortunately, Carlson’s book isn’t preachy. Marshall nicknames O’Donnell and Madonna (who become buddies) “Ro” and “Mo.” Kodak is so grateful for the one million feet of film that Marshall shot that it brings in a high school marching band. Along with a lobster lunch. One day, an assistant director “streaked the set to lighten the mood,” Carlson writes.

“No Crying in Baseball,” is slow-going at first. Marshall, who died in 2018, became famous as Laverne in “Laverne & Shirley.” It’s interesting to read about her. But Carlson devotes so much time to Marshall’s bio that you wonder when she’ll get to “A League of Their Own.”

Thankfully, after a couple of innings, the intriguing story of one of the best movies ever is told.

You’ll turn the pages of “No Crying in Baseball” even if you don’t know a center fielder from a short stop.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Theater

Rupert Murdoch’s powers on full display in ‘Ink’

Media baron helped pave the way for Brexit, Prime Minister Thatcher

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Cody Nickell (Larry Lamb) and Andrew Rein (Rupert Murdoch) in ‘Ink’ at Round House Theatre. (Photo by Margot Schulman Photography)

‘Ink’
Through Sept. 24
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
$46-$94
Roundhousetheatre.org

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s loathsome traits are many, but his skills to succeed are undeniably numerous. 

In the first scenes of John Graham’s West End and Broadway hit drama “Ink,” an exciting year-long detail from the life of a burgeoning media baron, Murdoch’s powers of persuasion are on full display.

It’s 1969 London. Over dinner with editor Larry Lamb, a young Murdoch shares his plan to buy the Sun and rebrand the dying broadsheet, replacing the Daily Mirror as Britain’s best-selling tabloid. What’s more, he wants to do it in just one year with Lamb at the helm. 

Initially reluctant, Lamb becomes seduced by the idea of running a paper, something that’s always eluded him throughout his career, and something Murdoch, the outsider Australian, understands. Murdoch taunts him, “Not you. Not Larry Lamb, the Yorkshire-born son of a blacksmith, not the guy who didn’t get a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, who didn’t get a degree from anywhere. Not you.”

Still, Lamb, played convincingly by Cody Nickell in Round House Theatre’s stellar season-opener, a co-production with Olney Theatre Center, remains unsure. But Murdoch (a delightfully brash Andrew Rein) is undeterred, and seals the deal with a generous salary. 

Superbly staged by director Jason Loweth, “Ink” is riveting. Its exchanges between Lamb and Murdoch are a strikingly intimate glimpse into ambition involving an ostensibly average editor and a striving money man who doesn’t like people.  

Once on board, Lamb is trolling Fleet Street in search of his launch team, played marvelously by some mostly familiar actors. He makes his most important hire — news editor Brian McConnell (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh) — in a steam bath. The remainder of the Sun’s new masthead falls handily into place: Joyce Hopkirk (Kate Eastwood Norris) the women’s page editor whose forward thinking is marred by her casual racism; Zion Jang plays Beverley Goodway, an awkwardly amusing young photographer; persnickety deputy editor Bernard Shrimsley (Michael Glenn) who learns to love ugly things; and an old school sports editor who proves surprisingly versatile, played by Ryan Rillette, Round House’s artistic director. 

At Lamb’s suggestion, the team brainstorms about what interests Sun readers. They decide on celebrities, pets, sports, free stuff, and —rather revolutionarily for the time —TV.  Murdoch is happy to let readers’ taste dictate content and the “Why” of the sacred “five Ws” of journalism is out the window. 

Murdoch is portrayed as a not wholly unlikable misanthrope. He dislikes his editors and pressman alike. He particularly hates unions. His advice to Lamb is not to get too chummy with his subordinates. Regarding the competition, Murdoch doesn’t just want to outperform them, he wants to grind them to dust. 

Loewith leads an inspired design team. Scenic designer Tony Cisek’s imposing, inky grey edifice made from modular walls is ideally suited for Mike Tutaj’s projections of headlines, printed pages, and Rein’s outsized face as Murdoch. Sound designer and composer Matthew M. Nielson ably supplies bar noises and the nonstop, pre-digital newspaper clatter of presses, linotypes, and typewriters.

From a convenient second tiered balcony, the Daily Mirror’s establishment power trio Hugh Cudlipp (Craig Wallace), Chris Lee Howard (Chris Geneback) and Sir Percy (Walter Riddle) overlook all that lies below, discussing new tactics and (mostly failed) strategies to remain on top.   

Increasingly comfortable in the role of ruthless, sleazy editor, Lamb is unstoppable.

Obsessed with overtaking the Daily Mirror’s circulation, he opts for some sketchy reportage surrounding the kidnapping and presumed murder of Muriel McKay, the wife of Murdoch’s deputy Sir Alick (Todd Scofield). The kidnappers mistook Muriel for Murdoch’s then-wife Anna (Sophia Early). Next, in a move beyond the pale, Lamb introduces “Page 3,” a feature spotlighting a topless female model. Awesta Zarif plays Stephanie, a smart young model. She asks Lamb if he would run a semi-nude pic of his similarly aged daughter? His reaction is uncomfortable but undaunted. 

For Murdoch’s purposes, history proves he chose well in Lamb. By year’s end, the Sun is Britain’s most widely read tabloid. Together they give the people what they didn’t know they wanted, proving the pro-Labour Daily Mirror’s hold on the working class is baseless and paving the way for things like Brexit and a Prime Minister Thatcher. 

“Ink” at Round House closes soon. See it if you can.

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