The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) is hosting a community conversation on the National Strategy for Black Gay Youth tonight at 6:30 p.m. with featured guests Frank Walker and Ezra Littleton from Youth Pride Services.
Busboys & Poets will be hosting ASL open mic poetry tonight at 11 p.m. in the Langston Room at its 14th and V streets location (2021 14th St., N.W.). Anyone with sign language knowledge may sign up to recite a poem or sign a song by e-mailing [email protected]. There is a $5 cover.
D.C. Women4Women presents “Tryst,” a monthly professional lesbian happy hour at its new location, Topaz Bar (1733 N St., N.W.) tonight from 7 to 10 p.m.
Fab Lounge (1805 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) presents “Honey, I Shrunk the Queers!” tonight from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. featuring music from the ‘80s and ‘90s. All attendees to this free event must be 21 or older.
Phase 1 of Dupont (1415 22nd St., N.W.) presents “Talkin’ Bout’ Dub,” a queer dubstep night featuring DJ Encryption from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Attendees must be 21 and older and there is a $10 cover.
DJ Chad Jack will be spinning at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Cover is $8 before 11 p.m. and $12 after. Attendees must be 21 or older. Doors open at 10 p.m.
Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) is having a military party tonight with DJ Sean Morris on the main floor and DJ Keenan Orr in the 30degrees lounge. Doors open at 10 p.m. and the open vodka bar starts at 11.
Saturday, Feb. 25
SpeakeasyDC is performing as part of Intersections tonight at the Sprenger Theater at Atlas (1333 H St., N.E.) from 7 to 9:30 p.m. SpeakeasyDC will be exploring the impact of queer culture featuring Regie Cabico, Andrew Korfhage, Natalie E. Illum and Sandra Faria.
Irish music ensemble Cherish the Girls plays Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available online at wolftrap.org.
Tom From Prague brings “Tainted Love: An International ‘80s Dance Party” to Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. There is a $5 cover.
“Several Species: The Pink Floyd Experience” is at Rams Head Live (20 Market Place, Baltimore) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advanced, $25 day of show and can be purchased online at ramsheadlive.com.
Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) presents Hellmouth Happy Hour where every week an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” will be screened and drink specials will be offered. This week the episode is “Consequences.”
The Duke D.C. LGBT Network is hosting a networking social at Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.) today at noon as the Blue Devils take on Virginia Tech.
Sunday, Feb. 26
Busboys & Poets presents “Mature Voices,” an open mic for performers 55 and older, hosted by Saleem Wayne Waters tonight in the Zinn room of its Hyattsville location (5331 Baltimore Ave., Suite 104) at 6 p.m. There is a $5 cover. For more information, visit busboysandpoets.com.
The Washington Ballet honoring choreographer Twyla Tharp is at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m., in a program showcasing her work spanning two decades. It will include performance of Tharp’s “Nine Sinatra Songs,” “Push Comes to Shove” and “Surfer at the Styx River.” Tickets range from $20 to $125 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.
The Lodge (21614 National Pike, Boonsboro) presents Saving Grace with the Draghetti Sisters, starring Araya Sparxx, Dannica Lauder and Jayden Elyse with special guest performances by Nicole James and Chi Chi Ray Colby at 6:45 p.m. followed by karaoke from 8 p.m to close. Doors open at 6 p.m. There is no cover.
Monday, Feb. 27
Out singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick plays Jammi’ Java (227 Maple Ave., E Vienna) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online atjamminjava.com.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
GLAA is having a membership meeting tonight in the second floor community room at the Reeves Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Lace Lounge (2214 Rhode Island Ave., N.E.) presents “Meet the Chef Tuesdays” tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. with Chef Raymond. There will be cooking tips, recipes, food samples and live demonstrations.
The Washington National Opera presents “Così fan tutte” tonight at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) at 7:30 p.m. The show follows two friends as they make a bet about their fiancées fidelity. The opera is performed in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets range from $25 to $300 and can be purchased online at kennedy-center.org.
Wednesday, Feb. 29
Singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill plays Warner Theatre (513 13th St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $55 to $150 and can be purchased online atlivenation.com.
Grammy-winning band Buckwheat Zydeco plays Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $24 and available online at wolftrap.org.
Busboys & Poets’s monthly book club is meeting tonight at its Shirlington location (4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington) at 7 p.m. to discuss the book “The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama” by Katrina vanden Heuvel. The book will be available for purchased in the Global Exchange store.
The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., SE — across from Marine Barracks) for duplicate bridge. No reservations needed; newcomers welcome. Visit lambdabridge.com if you need a partner.
Thursday, March 1
Gregory Lawson of Morgan Stanley Smith will be presenting a seminar in wealth planning for LGBT couples at the MAA Carriage House (1781 Church St., N.W.) tonight starting at 6:30 p.m. with a reception. Space is limited so attendees are asked to RSVP to [email protected].
SAGE Metro D.C. is having a steering committee meeting today at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) at 12:30 p.m. The center is also is hosting a transmen discussion group tonight at 7 p.m.
D.C. Lambda Squares, a local gay square dancing group, is having its annual meeting tonight as well as its weekly club night with mainstream and plus dancing at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Featured Local Savings
PHOTOS: Miss Glamour Girl
Maryland drag pageant held at McAvoy’s
The Miss Glamour Girl 2023 Pageant was held at McAvoy’s in Parkville, Md. on Sunday, Oct. 1. Miss Shantay was crowned the winner and qualified to compete in the Miss Gay Maryland Pageant in November.
(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)
New book explores why we categorize sports according to gender
You can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think
‘Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates’
By Katie Barnes
c.2023, St. Martin’s Press
The jump shot happened so quickly, so perfectly.
Your favorite player was in the air in a heartbeat, basketball in hand, wrist cocked. One flick and it was all swish, three points, just like that, and your team was ahead. So are you watching men’s basketball or women’s basketball? Or, as in the new book, “Fair Play” by Katie Barnes, should it really matter?
For sports fans, this may come as a surprise: we categorize sports according to gender.
Football, baseball, wresting: male sports. Gymnastics, volleyball: women’s sports. And yet, one weekend spent cruising around television shows you that those sports are enjoyed by both men and women – but we question the sexuality of athletes who dare (gasp!) to cross invisible lines for a sport they love.
How did sports “become a flash point for a broader conversation?”
Barnes takes readers back first to 1967, when Kathrine Switzer and Bobbi Gibb both ran in the Boston Marathon. It was the first time women had audaciously done so and while both finished the race, their efforts didn’t sit well with the men who made the rules.
“Thirty-seven words” changed the country in 1972 when Title IX was signed, which guaranteed there’d be no discrimination in extracurricular events, as long as “federal financial assistance” was taken. It guaranteed availability for sports participation for millions of girls in schools and colleges. It also “enshrine[d] protections for queer and transgender youth to access school sports.”
So why the debate about competition across gender lines?
First, says Barnes, we can’t change biology, or human bodies that contain both testosterone and estrogen, or that some athletes naturally have more of one or the other – all of which factor into the debate. We shouldn’t forget that women can and do compete with men in some sports, and they sometimes win. We shouldn’t ignore the presence of transgender men in sports.
What we should do, Barnes says, is to “write a new story. One that works better.”
Here are two facts: Nobody likes change. And everybody has an opinion.
Keep those two statements in mind when you read “Fair Play.” They’ll keep you calm in this debate, as will author Katie Barnes’ lack of flame fanning.
As a sports fan, an athlete, and someone who’s binary, Barnes makes things relatively even-keel in this book, which is a breath of fresh air in what’s generally ferociously contentious. There’s a good balance of science and social commentary here, and the many, many stories that Barnes shares are entertaining and informative, as well as illustrative. Readers will come away with a good understanding of where the debate lies.
But will this book make a difference?
Maybe. Much will depend on who reads and absorbs it. Barnes offers plenty to ponder but alas, you can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think. Still, if you’ve got skin in this particular bunch of games, find “Fair Play” and jump on it.
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An exciting revival of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre
Out actor Caesar Samayoa on portraying iconic role of President Perón
Through Oct. 15
Shakespeare Theatre Company
610 F St., N.W.
When Eva Perón died of cancer at 33 in 1952, the people’s reaction was so intense that Argentina literally ran out of cut flowers. Mourners were forced to fly in stems from neighboring countries, explains out actor Caesar Samayoa.
For Samayoa, playing President Perón to Shireen Pimental’s First Lady Eva in director Sammi Cannold’s exciting revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at Shakespeare Theatre Company is a dream fulfilled.
As a Guatemalan-American kid, he had a foot in two worlds. Samayoa lived and went to school in suburban Emerson, N.J. But he spent evenings working at his parents’ botanica in Spanish Harlem.
During the drives back and forth in the family station wagon, he remembers listening to “Evita” on his cassette player: “It’s the first cast album I remember really hearing and understanding. I longed to be in the show.”
As an undergrad, he transferred from Bucknell University where he studied Japanese international relations to a drama major at Ithica College. His first professional gig was in 1997 playing Juliet in Joe Calarco’s off-Broadway “Shakespeare’s R&J.” Lots of Broadway work followed including “Sister Act,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” and most significantly, Samayoa says, “Come From Away,” a musical telling of the true story of airline passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. He played Kevin J. (one half of a gay couple) and Ali, a Muslim chef.
He adds “Evita” has proved a powerful experience too: “We’re portraying a populist power couple that changed the trajectory of a country in a way most Americans can’t fully understand. And doing it in Washington surrounded by government and politics is extra exciting.”
WASHINGTON BLADE: How do you tap into a real-life character like Perón?
CAESAR SAMAYOA: Fortunately, Sammi [Connald] and I work similarly. With real persons and situations, I immerse myself into history, almost to a ridiculous extent.
First day in the rehearsal room, we were inundated with artifacts. Sammi has been to Argentina several times and interviewed heavily with people involved in Eva and Peron’s lives. Throughout the process we’d sit and talk about the real history that happened. We went down the rabbit hole.
Sammi’s interviews included time with Eva’s nurse who was at her bedside when she died. We watched videos of those interviews. They’ve been an integral part of our production.
BLADE: Were you surprised by anything you learned?
SAMAYOA: Usually, Eva and Perón’s relationship is portrayed as purely transactional. They wrote love letters and I had access to those. At their country home, they’d be in pajamas and walk on the beach; that part of their life was playful and informal. They were a political couple but they were deeply in love too. I latched on to that.
BLADE: And anything about the man specifically?
SAMAYOA: Perón’s charisma was brought to the forefront. In shows I’ve done, some big names have attended. Obama. Clinton. Justin Trudeau came to “Come From Away.” Within seconds, the charisma makes you give into that person. I’ve tried to use that.
BLADE: And the part?
SAMAYOA: Perón is said to be underwritten. But I love his power and the songs he sings [“The Art of the Possible,” “She is a Diamond,” etc.]. I’m fully a baritone and to find that kind of role in a modern musical is nearly impossible. And in this rock opera, I can use it to the full extent and feel great about it.
BLADE: “Evita” is a co-production with A.R.T. Has it changed since premiering in Boston?
SAMAYOA: Yes, it has. In fact, 48 hours before opening night in Washington, we made some changes and they’ve really landed. Without giving too much away, we gave it more gravity in reality of time as well as Eva’s sickness and the rapid deterioration. It’s given our second act a huge kind of engine that it didn’t have.
BLADE: You’re married to talent agent Christopher Freer and you’re very open. Was it always that way for you?
SAMAYOA: When I started acting professionally, it was a very different industry. We were encouraged to stay in the closet or it will cast only in a certain part. There was truth in that. There still is some truth in that, but I refuse to go down that road. I can’t reach what I need to reach unless I’m my most honest self. I can’t do it any other way.