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D.C. arts briefs: July 20

Night Out at the Kastles, Rufus at Wolf Trap and more

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Lesbian-directed film part of conference

The National Association of Social Workers is holding a National Hope Conference including a film festival on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park (2660 Woodley Road N.W.).

The three films included in the festival are “Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution” by lesbian filmmaker Lucy Winer, “From Place to Place” by Paige Williams and Matt Anderson and “What Love Is: Pathfinders” by Ted Bogosian.

Winer’s film shows her visit back to a mental hospital that her parents had her committed to as a teenager. She interviews former patients and staff and showcases how the state of mental health care has changed.

“From Place to Place,” is about 18-year-old Cody who’s been in 17 foster homes in seven years. The film shows his struggles to connect with his birth family and avoid slipping into drugs and crime.

Bogosain’s film follows an organization that provides holistic and compassionate care to people with cancer and other serious illnesses.

For tickets visit the Film Festival registration table at the conference. For more information, visit socialworkers.org.

Team D.C. presents Night Out at the Kastles

Night Out at the Kastles is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Waterfront Tennis Center (800 Water St.). The Kastles are playing the Orange County Breakers.

Team DC, Washington’s gay sports connection, began the Night Out Series with Night Out at the Nationals, inviting members of the LGBT community go together to a game. Now the series has spread to several sports teams including the Kastles, Mystics and United.

The Kastles are a World TeamTennis that was started in 2008 and has several big name players such as Serena and Venus Williams.

Grandstand seats are $15 and chairback seats are $30. For more information, visit teamdc.org.

Rufus Wainwright plays Wolf Trap Tuesday. (Photo courtesy Wolf Trap)

Wainwright and Michaelson coming to Wolf Trap

Rufus Wainwright is pairing up with indie sensation Ingrid Michaelson at Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Road, Vienna) Tuesday at 8 p.m.

On Wainwright’s most recent album, he put pop music aside and focused on other interests and recent personal events such as the birth of his daughter, the death of his mother and engagement to his partner, Jorn Weisbrodt.

Michaelson’s music has been featured in TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “One Tree Hill.” Her most recent albums is “Human Again,” released on her own independent record label Cabin 24.

Tickets range from $30-$75. For more information, visit wolftrap.org.

DJ Merrill performing at the MOVA Lounge

DJ David Merrill is playing MOVA Lounge on Thursday night at 9 p.m.

He’s a D.C.-based DJ who plays the latest cutting edge beats, progressive, tribal, trance and electro-house. He is a resident DJ at “Code,” D.C.’s largest gear fetish party, and the “Club Queer,” radio show. He has played at clubs and special events in D.C. and throughout the East Coast, including Town Danceboutique, Cobalt, the Green Lantern and the main stage at D.C. LeatherPRIDE.

Admission is free. For more information, visit movalounge.com.

 

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Photos

PHOTOS: Baltimore Pride in the Park

Annual celebration featured vendors, performers

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(Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

Baltimore Pride in the Park was held at Druid Hill Park on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)

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Photos

PHOTOS: “Portraits”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs at the Kennedy Center

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A scene from "Portraits," as performed in a technical rehearsal at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, June 15. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed “Portraits” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Sophie Zmorrod embracing life on the road in ‘Kite Runner’

First national tour comes to Eisenhower Theater on June 25

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Sophie Zmorrod (Photo courtesy of Zmorrod)

‘The Kite Runner’
June 25 – 30
The Kennedy Center
$39-$149
Kennedy-center.org

Newly single, Sophie Zmorrod is enjoying life on the road in the first national tour of “The Kite Runner,” Matthew Spangler’s play with music based on Khaled Hosseini’s gripping novel about damaged relationships and longed for redemption. 

“It’s a wonderful time for me,” says Zmorrod. “I’m past the breakup pain and feeling empowered to explore new cities. A lot of us in the cast are queer, so we figure out the scene wherever the show goes.” 

What’s more, the New York-based actor has fallen in love with the work. “I love how the play’s central character Amir is flawed. He is our antihero. He has faults. As a privileged boy in Kabul, he bears witness to his best friend’s assault and doesn’t intervene. He lives with that guilt for decades and gets that redemption in the end.” 

“He does what he can to right wrongs. For me who’s regretted things, and wished I could go back in time, it resonates. Watching someone forgive themselves and do the right thing is beautiful.” 

Via phone from Chicago (the tour’s stop before moving on to Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on June 25), Zmorrod, whose background is Lebanese, happily chats about sexuality, ethnicity, and acting. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Looking at your resume, I see you’ve been cast in roles traditionally played by men. And have you played queer characters? 

SOPHIE ZMORROD: Oh yes, both. Whether or not they’re written on the page as queer, they sometimes turn out that way. And that holds true for this show too.  

With “The Winter’s Tale” at Trinity Rep, I played Leontes — the king who banishes his wife — as a woman. So, in that production it was about two women and touched on the violence that women sometimes inflict on other women.

And there was Beadle Bamford in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” also at Trinity Rep; I played him as a woman who was masculine and wore a suit. It was a great opportunity to explore myself and gender expression. That was a really good experience. 

BLADE: Are you an actor who’s often be called in for queer roles? 

ZMORRAD: Not really. I’m what you might call straight passing. Sometimes I’ve had to advocate for my queerness. To be a part of something. 

Similarly with my ethnicity. I’m called in to audition for the white and Arab roles. It gets tricky because I’m not the exactly the white girl next door and I’m not exactly Jasmine from Disney’s “Aladdin” either. 

This is one of the reasons, I really want people to come see “The Kite Runner,” Audiences need to experience the reality of the wide diversity of Middle Eastern people on the stage. We’re all very different.

And not incidentally, from this 14-person cast, I’ve met some great people to add to those I know from the Middle Eastern affinity spaces and groups I’m connected to in New York.

BLADE: In “The Kite Runner” what parts do you play?

 ZMORRAD: Three characters. All women, I think. In the first act, I’m an elderly eccentric pomegranate seller in the Afghan market, waddling around, speaking in Dari [the lingua franca of Afghanistan]; and the second act, I’m young hip and sell records in a San Francisco market; and at the end, I’m a buttoned-down American immigration bureaucrat advising Amir about adoption.

BLADE:  Your training is impressive: BA cum laude in music from Columbia University, an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, and you’re also accomplished in opera and playwrighting, to name a few things. Does “The Kite Runner” allow you to flex your many muscles? 

ZMORROD: Very much. Playing multiple roles is always fun for an actor – we like malleability. Also, there are instruments on stage. I like working with the singing bowl; it’s usually used in yoga as a soothing sound, but here we save it for the dramatic, uncomfortable moments. I also sing from offstage. 

We are creating the world of the play on a very minimal set. Oh, and we do kite flying. So yeah, lots of challenges. It’s great. 

BLADE: It sounds like you’re in a good place both professionally and personally.

ZMORROD: It’s taken a long time to feel comfortable. But I’m on the journey and excited to be where I am, and who I am. 

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