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Calendar: April 13

Concerts, exhibits, parties and more through April 19

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In ‘The Adventures of White-Man’ part of ‘White Like Me: A Honky Dory Puppet Show,’ openly gay puppeteer Paul Zaloom operates diminutive characters and sets in a toy theater history. The action is live hi-def video-fed onto a large screen behind Zaloom so the audience can see what is going on. (Photo by Leigh Ann Hahn)

TODAY (Friday) 

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine plays Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available online at wolftrap.org.

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.).

Town’s (2009 8th St., N.W.) Bear Happy Hour presents “Bearaoke” tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. on the first floor, with mistress of ceremonies Tre. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Special Agent Galactica’s Happy Hour Cabaret Show is tonight at the Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit pinkhairedone.com.

Strathmore’s Friday Night Eclectic continues tonight with Chelsey Green and the Green Project with Synchronicxity at the Mansion (10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit strathmore.org.

Saturday, April 14

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” tonight at 9 p.m. with DJ Bobby T. There is no cover for this event.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) has a couple things going on tonight. Raja, winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will appear, Kristine W. (see interview on page 51), an international dance music icon, will perform and DJ Jerome Farley will be spinning. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $8 before 11 p.m. and $12 afterward.

Australian quartet the Jezabels play Red Palace (1212 H St., N.E.) tonight at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of the show and available online at redpalacedc.com. Doors open at 8 p.m.

DJ vANNIEty Kills presents “Anniething Goes” tonight at Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club (1103 Bladensburg Rd., N.E.) at 10 p.m. with back-to-back sets featuring guest DJs Juan and Hugo Zapata, Slant, Charles Martin and Prab K.

Openly gay puppeteer Paul Zaloom brings his latest solo comic puppet show “White Like Me: A Honky Dory Puppet Show” to Dance Place (3225 8th St., N.E.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 for general admisison, $17 for DP Members, seniors and teachers, $10 for college students and $8 for children 17 and younger. Zaloom will also perform on Sunday at 7 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit danceplace.org.

Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church (6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda), Bethesda Jewish Congregation and the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation are co-sponsoring the“Community Of Caring AIDS Benefit Concert” tonight featuring jazz pianist, Fred Hersch at 7:30 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $35, $25 for seniors and students. The proceeds will be divided equally among Dennis Avenue Health Center HIV/AIDS Program, La Clinica del Pueblo of D.C. and the Association of Francois-Xavier Bagnoud South Africa Program. For more information, visit bradleyhillschurch.com.

Sunday, April 15

The All-American Rejects play 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight. Tickets are $30 and available online at 930.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Busboys & Poets presents “Borderlines: A Bilingual Spanish-English Open Mic” tonight at 5 p.m. in the Zinn room of its Hyattsville location (5331 Baltimore Ave., Suite 104) hosted by Henry Mills. The sign-up sheet opens at 4 p.m.

Rams Head OnStage (33 West St., Annapolis) is having a salute to Elton John with tribute artist Almost Elton John and the Rocket Band tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and available online at tickets.ramsheadonstage.com.

Monday, April 16

Regie Cabico and DonMike Mendoza host “La-Ti-Do D.C.” tonight at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Cover is $10 and includes a rail cocktail or house wine.

Busboys & Poets presents an author event featuring Michael G. Long tonight in the Langston Room of its 14th and V streets location (2021 14th St., N.W.) at 6:30 p.m. Long will be discussing and signing his new book, “I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters.”

Tuesday, April 17

Say Anything performs at Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) tonight. Tickets are $18 in advance, $12 day of show and available online at blackcatdc.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s “The Voice,” plays Rams Head OnStage (33 West St., Annapolis) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28.50 and available online attickets.ramsheadonstage.com.

Wednesday, April 18

D.C. Ice Breakers hosts its monthly open skate tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, on top of the Ballston Common Mall parking garage (627 N Glebe Rd.) in Arlington. After skating the group will hit a local bar for a social hour. Skating is $8 plus $3 for skate rental. For more information, visit dcicebreakers.com.

The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club for gay bridge players meets tonight for social bridge at the Dignity Center (721 8th Street, S.E.). No partner is needed. Visit lambdabridge.com for details and click on “social bridge in Washington.”

Thursday, April 19

Fountains of Wayne plays 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight. Tickets are $25 and available online at 930.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.

There is a University of Maryland graduate and professional student happy hour tonight at Nellie’s (900 U St., N.W.) from 6 to 8 p.m.

Openly gay comedian Erin Foley plays Riot Act Comedy Theater (801 E St., N.W.) starting tonight at 8 p.m. with John Betz Jr., and Will Hessler opening. Tickets are $20 and available online at riotactcomedy.com. She will also perform Friday and Saturday.

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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.

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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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