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Queery: Matt Bailer

The Mixtape DJ answers 20 gay questions

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Matt Bailer, Mixtape, gay news, Washington Blade
Matt Bailer, Mixtape, gay news, Washington Blade

Matt Bailer (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Matt Bailer was at Taint, a party at DC9, a few years ago and he saw Shea Van Horn dancing. Van Horn caught his eye, but not in “that” way.

“He just had this really magnetic way of dancing that made me want to know him,” Bailer says. “I could just tell he was having a lot of fun.”

Bailer, who’s been DJing professionally about five years, guest DJed for Taint at Van Horn’s invitation shortly thereafter. They talked over the summer and made plans to start their own party, having discovered how well their sets complemented each other. That September, they threw their first Mixtape, a party of rotating venues that features “anything you can dance to.” Last month, they had their four-year anniversary party at the Howard. A special “Halloween edition” is set for Wednesday, also at the Howard, starting at 10:30 p.m. ($10 cover). Visit mixtapedc.com for details. The event won Best Men’s Party in this year’s Best of Gay D.C. readers’ poll and typically draws between 800-1,000 music lovers.

Bailer, a Camp Springs, Md., native, DJs full time. He also spins at the weekly Friday Night Kickoff party at Nellie’s and at the ‘90s-themed Peach Pit at DC9 the third Saturday of the month.

After studying theater at Duke in North Carolina in the ‘90s, Bailer went to West Hollywood to pursue a recording career but was soon beset with a crystal meth addiction. After rehab and sobriety meetings that he still attends, Bailer says the key to “reprogramming my brain” was realizing how much better his life has become since those days.

“As time continued to pass, life started getting really good … and the more you kind of realize, ‘Oh well, that’s why I was living in my car before and had no money to my name because I was doing these drugs and now life is really good.’”

But isn’t it tempting spending so much time in gay nightlife circles? Bailer, who DJs full time, says he manages to stay clean because he views his nights out as having a job to do. He doesn’t go out often when he’s not working.

Bailer is single and enjoys music, movies, games and hanging out with friends in his free time. He lives at 14th and T, N.W.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

Since National Coming Out day my freshman year of college which was October, 1994. I’d always told myself that I wouldn’t tell my parents before they were ready to ask, and I wouldn’t lie when they did. It was an adjustment for them, but I was blessed with two amazing parents and a sister who love and support me unconditionally.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Probably Sophie B. Hawkins. Her song “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” changed the way I listened to music and soon thereafter I started writing and recording my own original songs. Also, I don’t know if I’d call this person my LGBT hero per se, but there used to be a drag queen in Washington named Berlene who inspired the hell out of me in the late 1990s. She has since passed away, but she was the first truly ingenious drag performer I ever saw, pushing all the boundaries and working hard for every dollar she made. She also happened to be a very sweet person.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

Well it’s both the truth and shameless self-promotion, but I’ll be having the most fun wherever I’m DJing on any given night, which would be Nellie’s every Friday night, Mixtape on the second Saturday of the month, or Peach Pit at DC9 on the third Saturday of the month.

Describe your dream wedding.

Family, friends, laughter, music, dancing, unicorns, fireworks, Wilson Phillips performing “Hold On” — does there have to be a groom?

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

12-step programs work. Cancer sucks.

What historical outcome would you change?

The premature cancellations of “My So-Called Life” and “Pushing Daisies.”

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

I remember exactly where I was — in line for the bathroom at VelvetNation — when I found out Madeline Kahn had died.

On what do you insist?

Honesty, kindness and a sense of humor.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but sometimes I wish they would collect everyone’s phones when they enter the club and give them back as they leave. Trust me, it’ll be way more fun if you stop texting and dance.

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

Uhhh, I dunno. “Matt Bailer & The Purple Crayon,” maybe? Purple is my signature color.

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

I would be grateful for having existed before such regressive rubbish was possible. I am so happy to be who I am. I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I try to live by the Golden Rule, because karma can be a blessing or a bitch. The Serenity Prayer is an incredibly helpful, often self-fulfilling 10 seconds. I believe there’s a power greater than myself out there, which helps me stay humble and grateful and sober. And I know my amazing mother is watching my fabulous life unfold on the big picture screen in heaven and she’s smiling down on me.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Keep on truckin.’ Slow but steady wins the race.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Peanut butter cream pie. My mom used to make it often after we got the recipe from my outstanding piano teacher Mrs. Lloyd-Potts. Coffee is the most complicated thing I can cook, but even I learned how to make peanut butter cream pie ‘cuz it’s so freakin’ good.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

“Glee” pretty much sums them all up.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Trick.” Runner-up: “Sordid Lives.”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Oh don’t get me started. It actually relates back to my most recent Facebook post mentioned above, but it drives me INSANE how people seem utterly incapable of enjoying a club or a concert or even just a plain old conversation anymore without constantly disengaging to text or take pictures or video or whatever on cell phones.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I’ve already achieved more happiness than I ever dreamed of. I guess the cherry on top would be someone to share it with, but he hasn’t found me yet and I’m doing fine for now on my own.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

Drugs are bad.

Why Washington?

I grew up in Prince George’s County near what is now the southern end of Metro’s Green Line. Washington is home for me. My sister and father both live less than an hour away. And as long as this city continues to grant me the privilege of making a career sharing music with people — something I’ve loved with all my heart since I was 5 years old — I can’t even begin to think about living anywhere else.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Erica Eaton

    October 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    and i'm proud to say that I've known Matt since the days of his hilarious impressions of our 8th grade history teacher :)

    • Matt Bailer

      October 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      ok stewdents, take out your newtbewks. are there any kwesshtions?

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Arts & Entertainment

RuPaul makes Emmy history with 11 wins, most ever for a Black artist

Ru did not make mention of the history-making win- instead thanking the Academy, Viacom and CBS and “all of you gorgeous people here tonight”

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RuPaul picking up his trophiy at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this month. (Screenshot via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – In a first for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences since it began the Primetime Emmy Awards January 25, 1949, the iconic drag performer and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul broke the record for the most wins by a Black entertainer with 11 wins at the 73rd annual awards ceremony Sunday night.

RuPaul bested the previous record holder, cinematographer Donald A. Morgan, who was also nominated but did not win in his category for his work on sitcoms “The Upshaws,” “The Conners” and “Last Man Standing.”

The Hollywood Reporter noted, “VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race won a trophy for outstanding competition program at tonight’s telecast, a victory that gives RuPaul an 11th Emmy and solidifies his place as the most decorated Black artist in Emmy Awards history.

During the show’s acceptance speech, Ru did not make mention of the history-making win. Instead, he thanked the Academy, Viacom and CBS and “all of you gorgeous people here tonight.”

“Really thanks to all of our lovely children on our show from around the world,” he continued. “You know, they are so gracious to tell their stories of courage and how to navigate this difficult life [that was more difficult this year]. This is for you and for you kids out there watching. Come to Mama Ru.”

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Galleries

BMA exhibit traces friendship between Matisse and Etta Cone

Baltimore collector helped build world’s preeminent repository of French master’s work

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Henri Matisse. Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent, Ornamental Background and Checkerboard. 1928. (The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.255. © Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

The Baltimore Museum of Art is the world’s most important repository of French modern master Henri Matisse’s work and this fall, a new exhibition will explore the friendship between the artist and Etta Cone, the Baltimore collector who befriended Matisse in 1906. 

The two maintained a close 43-year friendship, during which time Matisse traveled to Baltimore and created works with Etta and the BMA in mind. Etta and her sister Claribel ultimately collected about 700 of Matisse’s works, according to the BMA, including Blue Nude (1907), The Yellow Dress (1929-31), and Large Reclining Nude (1935). 

This new exhibit, “A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore” will trace their friendship through letters they exchanged and includes more than 160 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and illustrated books. 

Etta Cone (Photo courtesy of Claribel Cone and Etta Cone Papers, Archives and Manuscripts Collections, The Baltimore Museum of Art)

“For years, scholars have debated the purchases made by both Cone sisters, with much more credit given to the important acquisitions of major paintings by older sister Claribel,” the BMA said in a statement. “‘Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore’ will for the first time fully recognize Etta’s achievements as a collector and acknowledge her role in building the majority of the sisters’ Matisse collection, particularly the sculpture, drawings, and prints.” 

Henri Matisse at the dining room in of Etta Cone’s apartment in Baltimore, 1930. (Photo courtesy of Claribel Cone and Etta Cone Papers, Archives and Manuscripts Collections, The Baltimore Museum of Art)

“Etta Cone and Matisse shared a love of gesture and the female form, expressed not only through her collection of his major paintings, but through an early and sustained interest in his print making and drawing practices. The exhibition begins with work on paper and ends there as well,” said Leslie Cozzi, BMA associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs.

The exhibition will feature a large selection of drawings, including masterpieces that are rarely on view due to light exposure restrictions, the BMA announced. 

“Etta Cone’s dedication to art, and to Matisse’s work in particular, has had a profound impact on the BMA and the focused and studied ways in which the museum continues to develop its collection. The forthcoming exhibition captures the exciting possibilities that can be achieved when artists, collectors, and public institutions join in a shared vision and commitment. We are delighted to present visitors with the incredible story of Etta Cone and the significant works of art that she brought to our museum, and to have this exhibition serve as a prelude to the presentations, programs, and publications that we’ll be able to create through our soon to be opened Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies,” said Christopher Bedford, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director.


Henri Matisse. The Yellow Dress. 1929-31. (The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland. BMA 1950.256 © Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York)

The Marder Center, which is scheduled to open in December, will present the breadth of the BMA’s Matisse holdings, while supporting the development of new scholarly publications that advance discussions on the trajectory of modern art, according to a statement. 

“A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore” opens Oct. 3 and will be on view until Jan. 2, 2022. Tickets are available through artbma.org. Prices are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $12 for groups of 7 or more, $5 for students with ID, and $5 for youth ages 7-18. BMA Members, children ages 6 and under, and student groups are admitted free. For more information, call 443-573-1701.

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Television

New films feature gay superhero, Tammy Faye, and feel-good drag

Cumberbatch takes on another gay role in ‘Power of the Dog’

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‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is the feel-good queer movie of the season. (Photo courtesy Amazon)

It’s fall again, and that means it’s time to look forward to the things we love about this time of the year – and no, I’m not talking about pumpkin spice. I’m referring, of course, to the new movies headed our way, and there are quite a few this year that should be of interest to LGBTQ+ viewers. Fortunately, as usual, the Blade is here to help you plan your own must-see list for the season with the help of our handy guide below.

Giddy Stratospheres (Sept.14): If you’re a movie fan who also has a taste for musical nostalgia, this gritty love letter to the indie music scene of the 2000s from writer/director Laura Jean Marsh is definitely for you. Shot entirely during lockdown in the UK, it follows a pair of indie kids and best friends (Jamal Franklin and Marsh herself) as they party their nights away on a quest for the ultimate in hedonistic euphoria and excitement. If memories of donning boots, ripped tights, and eyeliner for a night at the club aren’t enough, there’s also a fabulously queer leading character and soundtrack featuring a smorgasbord of retro hits from the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads, The Walkmen, Le Tigre, The Rapture, Art Brut, The Cribs, Black Wire, The Rocks, Theoretical Girl, Pink Grease and more. Available via VOD now.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Sept. 17): Delayed due to COVID but finally here is this bubbling and buzzy film version of the hit West End musical by Tom MacRae, inspired by a 2011 television documentary, in which a gay 16-year-old named Jamie New (Max Harwood) overcomes teasing, bullying, and a complicated home life to realize his dream of becoming a drag queen – with help from a loyal best friend (Lauren Patel), a supportive mom (Sarah Lancashire), and an aging drag mentor named Loco Chanel (Richard E. Grant). Translated to the screen by original stage director Jonathan Butterell and adapted into a screenplay by MacRae himself, it’s won early praise by critics for its “infectious” spirit and is probably the odds-on favorite to be the feel-good queer movie of the season. With Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson, Samuel Bottomley, Sharon Horgan, and Charlotte Salt, it also features a cameo from Roy Haylock (better known as Bianca Del Rio, of course), who played the role of Loco Chanel onstage. VOD and streaming on Amazon Prime.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Sept. 17): Like the now-classic documentary of the same name, this much-anticipated biopic is an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, who with her husband Jim Bakker created the world’s largest religious broadcasting network before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire. Legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life, she went on to become an unlikely but beloved LGBTQ icon, vocally supporting the community and helping to reduce stigma around AIDS through the platform afforded by her celebrity. Directed by Michael Showalter, it stars Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye, with Andrew Garfield as Jim and a supporting cast including Cherry Jones, Fredric Lehne, Louis Cancelmi, Sam Jaeger, Gabriel Olds, Mark Wystrach, and Vincent D’Onofrio. In Theaters.

On the Fringe of Wild (Oct. 13)

In this Canadian import set in the early 2000s, a sensitive and shy small town teen named Peter runs away from his homophobic father during a hunting trip designed to “make him a man.” Lost in the cold Ontario wilderness, he meets Jack – another teen on the run from his toxic family – and a romance buds between them as they hide away in a secluded cabin; when they are inevitably pulled back into the real world, they’re forced to confront their sexuality, their mental health, and the oppressive home life that threatens to drive them apart. Directed by Emma Caralfamo from a bleak but hopeful screenplay by Sorelle Doucet, it features trans actor Harrison Browne as Peter and Cameron Stewart as Jack, with Mikael Melo, Andrew Bee, Audrey Nesbitt, Bernadette Medhurst, Andrea Pavlovic, and Adam Jenner in support. VOD.

Eternals (Nov. 5)

Marvel Studios gets a jump on the holiday blockbuster rush with the long-awaited (and long-delayed) release of this new addition to their comics-to-screen franchise, an epic and ensemble-centered action fantasy that introduces, among other characters, Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos – the first openly gay superhero to be depicted in a Marvel film. It even promises an onscreen kiss between Tyree and Haaz Sleiman, who portrays Phastos’ husband. We’ll take a wait-and-see attitude on whether or not it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. Directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, it has an all-star cast that includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harrington, Salma Hayak, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, and Angelina Jolie.

Isaac (Nov. 16):

Coming from Spain is this debut feature from writer/directors Angeles Hernández and David Matamoros, adapted from a stage play by Antonio Hernández Centeno and centered on two friends named Nacho and Isaac, who had an intense relationship as teens and meet again by chance after 20 years. Nacho, now financially successful and trying to have a baby with his wife Marta, proposes an arrangement with struggling entrepreneur Denis and his partner Carmen: If they will provide the “surrogate belly” for Marta’s pregnancy, he will give them the money they need to open their gourmet restaurant. The deal, of course, opens the door for a lot of resurfaced feelings that forces the two men to discover themselves at the risk of losing the apparent stability they now have. Starring Pepe Ocio and Iván Sánchez (who won the Best Actor prize for his performance as Nacho at the 2020 Malaga Film Festival), it also features Maria Ribera, Erika Bleda, and Nacho San José. VOD.

The Power of the Dog (Nov. 17):

Squeaking in just before the holiday season is this adaptation of the 1967 Thomas Savage novel by the same name, directed by renowned filmmaker Jane Campion and starring screen heavyweights Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst. Set in 1925 Montana, it’s a character-driven drama in which a brutal but charismatic rancher (Cumberbatch) finds his life disrupted when his brother (Jesse Plemons) brings a new wife (Dunst) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) home to the ranch. At first cold and cruel, he begins to take his new step-nephew under his wing, and a relationship begins to form that opens up memories of a buried past and awakens him to the possibilities of love. On the one hand, it’s garnered predictable controversy over the casting of the straight-identifying Cumberbatch in a high-profile queer role (his second after playing Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”) – but on the other, it’s one of the best-reviewed upcoming films on the slate so far. In addition, Campion is a cinematic master whose work here won her the Silver Lion for directing at this year’s Venice Film Festival, so it’s worth taking that into consideration before you decide to give this one a pass. In theaters.

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