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Calendar: Oct. 5

Parties, exhibits, concerts and more through Oct. 11

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David Kato, LGBT rights activist, Uganda, gay news, Washington Blade
David Kato, LGBT rights activist, Uganda, gay news, Washington Blade

A still from ‘Call Me Kuchu,’ which will be screened at the Katzen Art Center in Washington next week. (Blade file photo)

TODAY (Friday)

Whitman-Walker holds HIV testing at Anacostia Metro Station (1101 Howard Road SE) this afternoon from 1-3:30 p.m. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. This event is for people 21 and older. There is no cover charge. For details, visit towndc.com.

The Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) is having its happy hour tonight starting at 5 p.m. All drinks are half off until 7:30 p.m. After 9 p.m., admission is $10. The dance floor opens at 11 with DJ Tim-Nice and DJ Cameron. For details, visit thebachelorsmill.com.

Phase 1 (528 8th St. SE) has its weekly dance party with DJ Jay Von Teese tonight starting at 7:30. Cover is $10. For more information, visit phase1dc.com.

The D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival continues tonight at 7 at Freer and Sackler Gallery of Art (1050 Independence Ave. SW) and later at 8 at the Goethe-Institut (812 7th St. NW). The festival is featuring films through Sunday, and tickets range from $12-$20. A VIP pass for all the screenings is $88. For details, visit http://www.apafilm2012.com.

Saturday, Oct. 6

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, is helping in food preparation and packing groceries for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Road, NE) this morning at 8. Later in the same morning, the group volunteers with the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation at Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church) at 11:45 a.m. The organization is looking for dog handlers for their adoption events. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Adah Rose Gallery (3766 Howard Ave., Kensington) hosts the opening reception for “The Day Turned Into the City and the City Turned Into the Mind,” a series of paintings by Tom Drymon and photographs by Julie Wolstynski, this evening at 6:30.  The night will include live music by White Chihuahua. For details, visit adahrosegallery.com.

Sunday, Oct. 7

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) holds its weekly Martini Sundays and Homowood Karaoke tonight. Karaoke starts at 10 p.m. and there is no charge for admission. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts “WTF: Check Up” tonight starting at 10. Cover is $5. For more information, visit towndc.com.

Monday, Oct. 8

The Youth Working Group Meeting is this evening at 6 at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., NW). The group is dedicated to positively impaction D.C. youth. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its Martini Monday tonight at 10 p.m. There is now cover charge and martinis are $5. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its HIV+ Newly Diagnosed Support Group tonight at 7. It is a confidential support group for anyone recently diagnosed with HIV and the group welcomes all genders and sexual orientations. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

Tuesday, Oct. 9

DC Bi Women meets tonight at 7 at Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St. NW) in the upstairs room. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) hosts its Safer Sex Kit packing program tonight from 7-10:30. The packing program is looking for more volunteers to help produce the kits because they say they are barely keeping up with demand. Admission is free and volunteers can just show up. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W) hosts its Flashback dance night with DJ Jason Royce starting at 10 p.m. There is no cover charge. For more details, visit cobaltdc.com.

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its Coming Out-Women support group tonight at 7 p.m. This is a 10-week confidential discussion group for women who are exploring their interest in other women. It is open to all women regardless of age or experience in the coming out process. Registration is required to attend. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

Wednesday, Oct. 10

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its gay men over 50 support group this evening at 6:30 p.m. The group is for gay men entering a new phase of life. Registration is required to attend. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its HIV+ Newly Diagnosed Support Group tonight at 7. It is a confidential support group for anyone recently diagnosed with HIV and the group welcomes all genders and sexual orientations. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., SE) for duplicate bridge. Everyone is welcome and reservations are not needed. For more information, visit lambdabridge.com.

Rainbow Response Monthly Meeting meets tonight at 7 at the D.C. Center (1318 U St. NW). This is a group of individuals collaborating to address intimate partner violence among the LGBT people in the D.C. area. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Phase 1 (525 8th St. SE) hosts Jell-o wrestling tonight at 9. Attendees can enjoy $3 Miller Lights and Bourbon Gingers along with $4 shots of Hornitos. The club asks attendees to bring a towel and a change of clothes if they want to wrestle. For details, visit phase1dc.com.

The Big Gay Book Group meets tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss the gay classic “Kiss of the Spider Woman” by Manuel Puig, which explores sharp dialogue between a young socialist revolutionary and a middle-aged movie-obsessed gay man in an Argentine jail cell. Members meet at 1155 F Street NW, Suite 200. Newcomers welcome. For details, e-mail to [email protected] or visit biggaybookgroup.com.

Thursday, Oct. 11

Whitman-Walker Health provides HIV testing at The Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.)  tonight at 10. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

“Call Me Kuchu,” a documentary about LGBT individuals in Uganda, is being screened at the Katzen Arts Center (4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW) this evening at 5:30.  A q&a session will take place after the showing. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

D.C. Center hosts a reception with Blessed B Rwomushana, who works with Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights for Youth in Uganda, tonight at 6. There is a $5 suggested donation. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, is helping in food preparation and packing groceries for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Road, NE) this evening at 6. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W) is hosting its weekly Best Package Contest tonight at 9 p.m. There is a $3 cover and there are $2 vodka drinks. Participants in the contest can win $200 in cash prizes. The event is hosted by Lena Lett and music by DJ Chord, DJ Madscience, and DJ Sean Morris. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

 

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Theater

‘Blindness’ explores a terrifying new pandemic

Sidney Harman Hall production features immersive sound, light installation

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The audience takes the stage in ‘Blindness.’ (Photo by Helen Maybanks)

‘Blindness’
Through June 13
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Sidney Harman Hall
610 F St., N.W.
$44-54
Shakespearetheatre.org

Masks and social distancing, yes, but I never expected a return to live theater to include a stage without actors and an audience seated onstage. But that’s exactly how it went it down on a recent sunny Saturday morning in Washington.

We longed for something, and after a year of indisputably warranted darkness, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has obliged by reopening Sidney Harman Hall with Donmar Warehouse’s terrifyingly enthralling production of “Blindness,” an immersive sound and light installation anchored by Juliet Stevenson’s astonishing recorded vocal performance heard — jarringly, soothingly, eerily — through binaural headphones.

Adapted by Simon Stephens from Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s same-titled dystopian novel, and staged by Walter Meierjohann (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”), the London born, 75-minute tale begins with narrator Stevens matter-of-factly relaying the details surrounding the outbreak of a pandemic that causes blindness. What starts off as an alarming, isolated incident, rapidly devolves into something all-encompassing and petrifying.

Uncannily, Saramago’s 1995 book, both looks back to plague stories and prophetically toward COVID-19.
In addition to narrator, Stevenson (an Olivier Award-winning stage actor also known for films like “Truly, Madly, Deeply”) plays the wife of an ophthalmologist whose office is where patient zero spreads the disease to various other patients – a little cross-eyed boy, an alluring young woman hiding a case of conjunctivitis behind dark sunglasses, a thief, an older gent sporting an eye patch, and sundry others.

The doctor’s wife, who is immune to the new sight-stealing disease, is doomed/blessed to become the lone eyewitness to violence, injustices, and death as the situation becomes progressively scary, primitive, and dangerous.

Rather than darkness, the afflicted are submerged into a world of milky whiteness. The pandemic – a new pathogen whose means of transmission is unknown – moves quickly throughout the city, then the nation, and beyond. Early in the outbreak, the health ministry is reluctant to get too involved, choosing instead to minimize the seriousness of what’s happening. Sounds familiar, I know.

Like the story, Jessica Hung Han Yun’s lighting design becomes increasingly menacing as things move along. Originally playfully colorful fluorescent tubes suspended high from the ceiling, they turn stark white and are lowered to audience members’ line of sight. Then they are darkened altogether, interrupted by occasional bright colorless flashes.

Through headphones, the audience hears rain storms, harsh announcements, barricades being dragged, screams, sobs, footsteps, and gunshots. At times, Stevenson whispers in your ear. Once, I mechanically answered “Yes, I’m here.”

Masked, seated often in total darkness, headphones, it’s immersive, sometimes claustrophobically so. (If it becomes too much, there’s a flash light attached to the leg of each metal chair. Turn it on and an usher will escort you off the stage.)

During the pandemic STC has developed health and safety measures that include masks, air filtration, social distancing, etc.

For “Blindness” only 40 patrons are allowed per viewing. No one is seated next to someone outside of their own party, and a limited number of single tickets are available for purchase by calling the box office. Headsets, seats, and flashlights are disinfected before every performance, and all bathrooms and lobby spaces will be cleaned prior to the next seating group enters the building.

Exiting the Harman, you might think how odd it is to have been on stage before the actors’ union has allowed them to perform indoors before a live audience.

Outdoors, the warm wind feels invigorating against your face as you walk down the street. Still, the nearby upscale Mexican restaurant’s windows remain boarded and the half dozen people around you are walking determinedly, all — except one — wearing a mask.

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Movies

Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs screens ‘Eat With Me’

David Au’s directorial debut presented

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In celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, The Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, DC Public Library, and the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs host a screening of “Eat With Me” for May’s #DCQueerFlix on May 14, beginning at 6 p.m.

“Eat With Me,” David Au’s directorial debut, features the story of a mother and her gay son learning to reconnect while trying to keep their business afloat. The film offers a novel take on love, life, and food in the center of Los Angeles.

“Eat With Me” will be available on the Kanopy streaming service and is free for D.C. library patrons.

To register for this virtual event, visit the Eventbrite page.

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Out & About

Virtual panel tackles Va. trans student policies

Equality Virginia event to dissect VDOE guidance

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inclusive curricula, Frederick County School Board, transgender students, gay news, Washington Blade

Equality Virginia hosts a virtual panel focused on dissecting the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) newly released guidance concerning the treatment of transgender and non-binary youth in schools. This event will be on May 12 at 6 p.m.

Perspectives from LGBTQ youth, parents, legal experts, and community leaders will be shared to shed light on VDOE’s new policies set to go into effect during the 2021-2022 school year.

Event registration is available here.

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