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Calendar: March 9

Parties, support groups, concerts and more through March 15

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Singer/songwriter Paula Cole performs at Wolf Trap on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Wolf Trap)

TODAY (Friday) 

Kaiser Chiefs play 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight with Walk the Moon and Transfer. Tickets are $30 and available online at 930.com. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Women in Their Twenties, a social discussion and dinner group, meets tonight from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.).

Siren presents “The Say-Something Hat Rave” tonight at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) featuring DJs Majr and Shea Van Horn. Doors open at 10 p.m. with an open vodka bar until 11 p.m. There will be a hat contest by Brightest Young Gays.

The Lodge (21614 National Pike, Boonsboro) presents “Glamour Girls: Miss Michaels’ Quest for Miss Gay Maryland” starring Stephanie Michaels tonight. There’s a $3 cover before 11:30 p.m. with no cover after.

Nana Projects and ellen cheery presents “Alonzo’s Lullaby,” a shadow puppet show based on the 1918 Hagenback-Wallace Circus train wreck at Theatre Project (45 W. Preston St., Baltimore) tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $20 and can be purchased online at theatreproject.org.

The Maryland Shakespeare Festival presents its “Bare Bard” series opening tonight with “Merchant of Venice” at All Saint’s Episcopal Church (21 North Court St., Frederick) at 8 p.m. The series features a cast of professional actors that meets and rehearses for only three days before performing. There will also be performances of “All’s Well That Ends Well” on Saturday at 8 p.m. and “Much Ado About Nothing” on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $18 to $22 and can be purchased online at mdshakes.com.

Saturday, March 10

Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 South 23rd St., Arlington) presents Miss Freddie’s 2012 tonight at 8 p.m. Categories include Greek goddesses, beach attire, self expression, talent and Q&A. There is a $10 cover. For more information, visit freddiesbeachbar.com.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Paula Cole plays Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna) tonight at 7:30 p.m.

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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.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) and 495 Bears presents “Bears Can Dance: The St. Patrick’s Day Edition” tonight at 9 p.m. with DJ Bobby T. There is no cover for this event.

Phase 1 (525 8th St., S.E.) presents Hunter Valentine with Glitterlust tonight at 8:30 p.m. The crew of “The Real L World” will also be filming one of the newest editions to the cast tonight. There’s a $10 cover.

William Belli from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” performs at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. There’s an $8 cover before 11 p.m. that goes up to $12 afterward.

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore is having a camera training session today at 1 p.m. for those interested in helping with a project to document and archive Baltimore’s LGBT stories. If interested, contact Marlene at [email protected] or 702-655-2146.

Sunday, March 11

The D.C. Kings are celebrating their 12th anniversary tonight with a benefit for the Deaf Abused Women’s Network at Phase 1 (525 8th St., S.E.) hosted by Rocky and Ken Vegas with performances by Mason Tunite, Randy Ryder and more. For more information on DAWN, visit deafdawn.org. This show will be ASL interpreted. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Washington Area Theatre Community Honors are tonight at the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available online at ticketmaster.com.

LGBT science fiction, fantasy and horror group Lambda Sci-Fi is having its monthly meeting today, including election of officers and social with annual blind book exchange at 1425 S St., N.W., at 1:30 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring a snack or a non-alcoholic drink to share. For more information contact James at 202-232-3141 or Peter and Rob at 202-483-6369, e-mail to [email protected], or visit the group’s website at lambdascifi.org.

Monday, March 12

The Washington National Opera presents “Così fan tutte” tonight at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. The show, a modern-dress production, 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.

Busboys & Poets presents Monday Night Open Mic Poetry hosted by Beny Blaq in the Robeson Room of its Shirlington location (4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington) at 8 p.m. Wristbands are $4 and will be sold in the Global Exchange store beginning at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, March 13

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.

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.

Wednesday, March 14

Uncle Kracker plays 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight with Sonia Leigh and Ty Stone. Tickets are $25 and available online at 930.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.

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

Busboys & Poets’s Beltway Drama Series presents “The Accidental Activist” by Rebecca Gingrich-Jones at its Hyattsville location (5331 Baltimore Ave., Suite 104) at 6 p.m. The play takes a look at the relationship between Newt Gingrich and his lesbian sister featuring Candace Gingrich-Jones as herself. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door.

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 15

Jenny Owen Young plays the Red Palace (1212 H St., N.E.) tonight at 8 p.m. with Beach Week and Marian McLaughlin. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of the show. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit redpalacedc.com.

Cal State Pride Happy Hour is tonight at Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.) from 6 to 9 p.m.

Comedian Barry Rothbart performs at Riot Act Comedy Theater (801 E St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 and available online at riotactcomedy.com.

 

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Theater

‘Hadestown’ comes to the Kennedy Center

Levi Kreis discusses return to live theater

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Levi Kreis is an out actor who plays Hermes in the national tour of ‘Hadestown’ soon opening at the Kennedy Center. (Photo courtesy of Levi Kreis)

Hadestown
Through Oct. 31
The Kennedy Center
$45.00 – $175.00
Kennedy-center.org
For Covid-19 safety regulations go to Kennedy-center.org/visit/covid-safety/

Early in September at New York’s Walter Kerr Theatre, out singer/actor Levi Kreis was in the audience for the long-awaited Broadway reopening of “Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell’s rousing musical reimagining of the Orpheus myth in which the legendary Greek hero descends into the underworld to rescue his lover Eurydice. 

After almost 18 months of pandemic-induced closure, the Tony Award-winning folk opera was back and the house was full. In a recent phone interview, Kreis describes the evening as “love-filled, and electrifying and emotional after such a difficult time.” Now, Kreis is onstage in the national tour of “Hadestown,” currently launching at the Kennedy Center. As Hermes, the shape-shifting god of oratory, Kreis is both narrator and chaperone to the story’s young lovers. 

A Tennessee native, Kreis, 39, has triumphantly survived turbulent times including a harrowingly prolonged coming out experience that included six years of conversion therapy, education disruptions, and music contract losses. He officially came out through his acclaimed album “One of the Ones” (2006), which features a collection of piano vocals about past boyfriends. And four years later, he splendidly won a Tony Award for originating the role of rock and roll wild man Jerry Lee Lewis in the rockabilly musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” 

Throughout much of the pandemic, Kreis leaned into his own music and found ways to reconnect with his largely gay fan base. But he’s happy to now be touring, noting that all the “Hadestown” cast have been hungering to perform before a real live audience.

When not on the road, he’s based in New York City with his husband, classical-crossover recording artist Jason Antone. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Hermes is the same role for which André De Shields—the brilliant African American actor, also gay, and some decades your elder won a Tony and has resumed playing on Broadway, right?

LEVI KREIS: That’s right. It’s really a testament to the creative team. Rather than laying us over what Broadway created. They’re creating a tour that’s uniquely different; still true to the beauty of the story but with a different flavor. 

BLADE: What attracted you to the part?

KREIS: First, I fell in love with the show. My own musical sensibilities understand the origins of where this music comes from. It’s very bluesy and gospel. Southern and rootsy. And that’s everything I’ve created in my career as a singer/songwriter.

BLADE: With your life experience, do you feel called to mentor?

KREIS: The biggest effort I’ve given to this narrative is being a pioneer of the out-music movement starting in 2005 which was a moment when gay artists were not signed to major labels. I want through eight major labels—when they found out I was gay things always went south. 

It’s been amazing to be a voice in LGBTQ media when no one was speaking about these things. It’s popular now, but back when it mattered it was a lot harder to start my career as an openly gay artist and speak about these issues rather than keep quiet, cash in, and only then come out. 

BLADE: Where did that nerve come from?

KREIS: Less about nerve and more about being beaten down. How many things have to happen before you give up and decide to be honest?  

BLADE: For many theatergoers, “Hadestown” will be their return to live theater. Other than it being visionary and remarkably entertaining, why would you recommend it? 

KREIS: We need encouragement right now. But we also need art that facilitates a lot of important conversation about what’s happening in the world. This has both elements.  

“Hadestown” is not a piece of art that you easily forget. You’re going to walk out of the theater with a story that sticks with you. You’ll realized that your own voice matters. There’s a part in the show, Orpheus’ song, when the gods encourage him to get the balance of the world back again by telling him that his voice matters. 

BLADE: Is it timely?

KREIS: Art is here to change the world. And this piece of art hits the nail right on the head. I’m a purist when it comes to art and song. There’s a reason why we do it. people are listening now in a way they haven’t listened before. To miss that is to miss the role of society, I think. 

BLADE: And going forward? 

KREIS: It’s going to be interesting. We could double down on super commercialized theater or we may decide to really go the other direction and reclaim innovation. That remains to be seen. 

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Books

Book details fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Clinton-era policy was horrific for LGB servicemembers

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‘Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
By C. Dixon Osburn
c.2021, self-published $35 hardcover, paperback $25, Kindle $12.99 / 450 pages

When Senior Airman Brandi Grijalva was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, she talked with a chaplain’s assistant about some problems she had at home. The chaplain’s assistant said what she told him would be confidential. But when she revealed that she was a lesbian, the chaplain’s assistant no longer kept her conversation with him confidential. Grijalva, after being investigated was discharged.

Craig Haack was a corporal in the Marines serving in Okinawa, Japan. Haack, who had made it through boot camp, felt confident. Until investigators barged into his barracks. Looking for evidence “of homosexual conduct,” they ransacked everything from his computers to his platform shoes. Haack was too stunned to respond when asked if he was gay.

In 1996, Lt. Col. Steve Loomis’ house was burned down by an Army private. The Army discharged the private who torched Loomis’ house. You’d think the Army would have supported Loomis. But you’d be wrong. The army discharged Loomis for conduct unbecoming an officer because a fire marshal found a homemade sex tape in the ashes.

These are just a few of the enraging, poignant, at times absurd (platform shoes?), all-too-true stories told in “Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by C. Dixon Osburn.

As a rule, I don’t review self-published books. But “Mission Possible” is the stunning exception that proves that rules, on occasion, are made to be broken.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was the official U.S. policy on gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the military. Former President Bill Clinton announced the policy on July 19, 1993. It took effect on Feb. 28, 1994.

Sexual orientation was covered by DADT. Gender identity was covered by separate Department of Defense regulations.

Congress voted to repeal DADT in December 2010 (the House on Dec. 15, 2010, and the Senate on Dec. 18, 2010). On Dec. 22, 2010, Former President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law. 

DADT banned gay, lesbian and bisexual people who were out from serving in the U.S. military. Under DADT, it was not permitted to ask if servicemembers were LGB. But, LGB servicemembers couldn’t be out. They couldn’t talk about their partners, carry photos of their girlfriends or boyfriends or list their same-sex partner as their emergency contract.

It took nearly a year for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to go into effect. On Sept. 20, 2011, Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “certified to Congress that implementing repeal of the policy {DADT} would have no effect on military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion or recruiting and retention,” Osburn writes.

Before DADT, out LGBT people weren’t permitted to serve in the military. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was intended to be a compromise—a policy that would be less onerous on LGB people, but that would pass muster with people who believed that gay servicemembers would destroy military readiness, morale and unit cohesion.

Like many in the queer community, I knew that DADT was a horror-show from the get-go. Over the 17 years that DADT was in effect, an estimated 14,000 LGB servicemembers were discharged because of their sexual orientation, according to the Veterans Administration.

But, I had no idea how horrific “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was until I read “Mission Possible.”              

In “Mission Possible,” Osburn, who with Michelle Benecke, co-founded the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), pulls off a nearly impossible hat trick.

In a clear, vivid, often spellbinding narrative, Osburn tells the complex history of the DADT-repeal effort as well as the stories of servicemembers who were pelted with gay slurs, assaulted and murdered under DADT.

Hats off to SLDN, now known as the Modern Military Association of America, for its heroic work to repeal DADT! (Other LGBTQ+ organizations worked on the repeal effort, but SLDN did the lion’s share of the work.)

You wouldn’t think a 450-pager about repealing a policy would keep you up all night reading. But, “Mission Possible” will keep you wide-awake. You won’t need the espresso.

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Arts & Entertainment

NSYNC star Lance Bass & husband Michael Turchin welcome twins

Singer, husband, and popular West Hollywood nightclub owner, now adds the job of ‘Dad’ to his resume

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Lance Bass and Michael Turchin via Instagram

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Former boy-band NSYNC star and co-owner of the popular LGBTQ+ nightspot Rocco’s, Lance Bass, announced that he and husband Michael Turchin are the proud parents of twins, Violet Betty and Alexander James.

In his announcement on Instagram, Bass wrote; ‘The baby dragons have arrived!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I can not express how much love I feel right now. Thank you for all the kind wishes. It meant a lot. Now, how do you change a diaper??! Ahhhhhhhh!”

The babies were carried via surrogate, the singer noted saying that Alexander, born one minute before his sister on Wednesday, weighed 4 lbs., 14 oz. Violet weighed 4 lbs., 11 oz. Bass said in his Instagram post.

His husband also announced the news on his Instagram account. “Introducing the newest members of the Turchin-Bass household: Violet Betty and Alexander James!!!! They’re pure perfection and yes that includes the dozens of poops we’ve already dealt with. Our hearts our full!!! Thank you everyone for the well wishes 🥰🥰🥰”

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