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Baltimore arts briefs: Feb. 17

Nina Simone tribute planned, Hippo brings guests and more

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The Creative Alliance is hosting a tribute of singer Nina Simone, the ‘High Priestess of Soul,’ on Friday at the Patterson. (Photo courtesy of Creative Alliance.)

Hippo hosts talent event, DJ Chord

Club Hippo (1 West Eager St.) has a couple events going on this week.

First up is Baltimore’s Newest Faces monthly contest on Friday. Contestants will be performing a talent number for seven minutes or less and the winner will get a $50 cash prize.

For more information, contact Joes at 410-274-7118.

This week also brings Workout Saturday with special guest, gay D.C. DJ Chord Bezerra.

There’s also the weekly bingo game hosted by Roger Dimick starting at 8:30 p.m. to benefit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore.

Nina Simone tribute planned

The Creative Alliance at the Patterson (3134 Eastern Ave.) presents “High Priestess of Soul!,” a tribute to singer Nina Simone on Friday at 8 p.m.

The night will include music, dance, spoken word and media works by BMore & Dance, Wordslave, RaynFall Dance Company, Olu Butterfly, Dishibem Traditional Contemporary Dance Company, Bashi Rose and Griot’s Eye Youth Media Group.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for members. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit creativealliance.org.

Chocolate-themed party is AHA benefit

Fans of chocolate can attend two events this week in Baltimore.

On Wednesday, Liquid Culture Baltimore presents “Molten Chocolate Indulgence” at the Chocolatea Café and Tea Lounge (3811 Canterbury Rd.) from 7 to 9 p.m. The night will include various chocolate cocktails paired with finger foods and end with a chocolate fondue.

Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance from liquidculturebaltimore.com.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the American Heart Association.

Then on Thursday, the Maryland Science Center (601 Light St.) presents “The Science of Chocolate: Cocoa-ology” at 7 p.m.

This event will include samples of different chocolate styles, including truffles and bon bons, paired with wines and liqueurs and attendees will learn scientific and fun facts about chocolate. Tickets range from $40 to $45.

Three businesses join forces for Mardi Gras event

Fell’s Point bars, Sláinte Irish Pub & Restaurant, Kooper’s Tavern and Woody’s Rum Bar and Island Grill (1700 -2 Thames St.) are coming together for a Mardi Gras celebration on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The day will feature a bevy of food and drink specials and 10 percent of the event’s proceeds will go to the Tyanna Foundation, an organization that raises money for breast cancer research, services, education, treatment and patient care for local breast cancer patients and survivors.

For more information on Tyanna Foundation, visit breastfest.org.

For more information on the event, email [email protected].

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Out & About

DC Center to host estate planning seminar series

Three sessions presented by Murray Scheel

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The DC Center hosts a series of talks on end-of-life planning next week.

The DC Center for the LGBT Community and the DC Department on Aging and Community Living will host “Estate Planning Tools with Murray Scheel” via Zoom. 

Scheel will walk guests through the process of taking care of the end-of-life planning business that needs to be addressed during the golden years. Scheel is Senior Staff Attorney at Whitman-Walker Health’s Legal Services.

This event series will consist of three 1.5-hour sessions:

Jan. 19, 3 p.m. – “Tools for while you’re living” (overview, general power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, disposition of remains, etc.)

Jan. 26, 3 p.m. – “Tools for after you’re gone” (living wills, last wills, assets, etc.)

Feb. 2, 3 p.m. – “Healthcare insurance & long term care” (Medicare, Medicaid, correcting misinformation, skilled nursing, hospice care, etc.)

To register for this event, visit the DC Center website.

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Out & About

DC Center to host legal seminar for trans people

Attorney Richard Tappan and paralegal Miranda Shipman to give legal advice

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The DC Center for the LGBT Community will host a “Gender and Name Change Legal Seminar” on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. online. 

Attorney Richard Tappan and paralegal Miranda Shipman will give legal advice and speak on the importance of the legal community within the LGBTQ community, the difficulties of the LGBTQ community in the legal field and name and gender changes. 

Guests can find the link at the DC Center website.

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Books

Seeking love and community in Nicaragua

‘High-Risk Homosexual’ explores author’s youth, coming out

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(Book cover image courtesy of Soft Skill Press)

High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir
By Edgar Gomez
c.2022, Soft Skull Press
$16.95/304 pages

Here. Try this.

It fits you, but the color isn’t flattering. It’s too long, too short, too tight, too loose. That’s not your style, so try something else until you find the thing that looks like you. The perfect thing is out there. As in the new book “High-Risk Homosexual” by Edgar Gomez, when something’s right, it’s right.

He was 13 when he figured out that he was a problem to be solved.

Edgar Gomez’ mother had left him in her native Nicaragua with his tíos, just for a while because she had to return to Florida to work. He wasn’t there without her for long, but it took years for him to understand that his time with his uncles was meant to make him more masculine.

In retrospect, he says, nobody wanted him to be a man more than he did. He wanted to be liked by other kids and so he told lies in school to make himself stand out. He wanted his mother to see his love of pretty things and say that it was OK. He wanted his brother to acknowledge that Gomez was gay, and to tell him that he loved him.

Instead, after his brother left for college, Gomez got his first boyfriend, a boy he came out to but who couldn’t come out to himself. He was called names in school. He came out to his mother, who freaked out about it. He befriended a drag queen, but “Princess” used him.

Things he wanted: a real boyfriend. Love. A ban on the stereotype of a macho Latinx man.

Things he still had, while in college: his mother and older brother. A tormentor-turned-mentor. A part-time job. His weirdness. His virginity.

Things he wanted to lose, while in college: his room at his mother’s house. His virginity, but that wouldn’t happen until later, during a painful one-afternoon-stand with a hot man who said he had a girlfriend. That hurt, both physically and emotionally but like so many things at so many times, Gomez tried not to think about it.

If he never considered what he didn’t have, he says, “I wouldn’t miss it.”

In a way, you could say that “High-Risk Homosexual” is a book in search of a point. It’s really quite random and told (mostly) linearly, but not quite. It has its peaks, but also low valleys. And you won’t care about any of this, because you’ll be enjoying every bit of it.

Yeah, this memoir is good: author Edgar Gomez’s literary wandering makes it feel much like an honest conversation with readers. There are wince-worthy moments that allow empathy here, and experiences that are unique but oddly ubiquitous, that leave space for a sense of sympatico. There are passages that are so wistfully uncomfortable that you might squirm, or start “snort-laughing,” or want to stop a moment and just think.

And there’s room for that, too, so take your time. “High-Risk Homosexual” is an affable book with just enough seriousness to make it worth a try.

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