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Calendar through Feb. 7

Art exhibition openings, parties, group gatherings and more this week

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Dis Six, Leslie Nolan, gay news, Washington Blade
Dis Six, Leslie Nolan, gay news, Washington Blade

‘Dis Six’ by Leslie Nolan is on display at Touchstone Gallery. (Image courtesy Touchstone)

TODAY (Feb. 1)

Studio Gallery (2108 R St., NW) has its first Friday reception for “Shadows” by Peter Karp today, featuring photographic images in juxtaposition to found objects, cutouts and geometric shapes, and “Rough/Smooth/Evolving” by Trish Palasik, a play on rough and smooth textures on the surface of figures. For more information, visit studiogallerydc.com.

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., NW) is hosting the opening reception for the exhibition “Unfiltered,” paintings by Leslie Nolan, this evening at 6 p.m. Nolan’s portraits take a glimpse into people’s raw and vulnerable lives. The evening will include wine and music by Tom Rohde playing classical, Brazilian and Spanish guitar. For more information, visit touchstonegallery.com.

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. Later in the evening, the club will be hosting “So, you think you’re a drag queen?” to find the newest drag talent in the area. Contestants will be judged on performance ability, outfits, attitude and the ability to navigate a contest that requires them to do “ridiculous feats of drag-agility!” This will be a monthly contest. In order to participate, sign up during the drag show a month before the contest. The club will take the first six contestants who sign up. Winners will receive $200 and the title of the month’s winner. All winners are eligible for a final competition at the end of the year. For attendants of the show, the cover is $5 before 11 p.m. and $10 after for anyone 21 and older. For 18-20 year olds, cover is $10. For details, visit towndc.com.

Saturday, Feb. 2

The La-Ti-Do anniversary party takes place tonight starting at 6 p.m. at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave, NW). La-Ti-Do is Washington’s only weekly musical theater and spoken word cabaret series. Attendees are asked to RSVP on Facebook and to give $5 at the door. For more information, visit blackfoxlounge.com.

A memorial for Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who was murdered last year while waiting for the bus, is being held early this morning from 2-4 a.m. The family of Jones will be holding a candlelight vigil. This will be one year since her death and it will be held at the exact place where she was murdered, the intersection of Sycamore and East Capital St., NE. Everyone is welcome to come out to show their support for the family and to continue to raise awareness on the issue of violence against the transgender community. Those with questions or wanting to volunteer, contact Amy Loudermilk at [email protected]. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Burgundy Crescent volunteers this morning at Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., NE) at 8 a.m. and again at 9:45 a.m. Volunteers will help with food preparation and packing groceries. The shifts are limited to 10 per shift. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation at Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va.) starting at 11:45 a.m. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

CODE’s “Uniform Night” is tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, NW). Those in head-to-toe uniform (Army, Air Force, Navy, etc.) get in half off. Gear, rubber, uniform and leather dress code is strictly enforced. Doors open at 9 with open bar from 9 to 10 p.m. Cover is $10. Join CODE on Facebook for full details.

Sunday, Feb. 3

Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge St., NW) holds its weekly 9 and 11 a.m. worship services today. The church is mostly LGBT and communion is open to everyone. For more information, visit mccdc.com.

Monday, Feb. 4

The D.C. Lambda Squares holds its new dance series starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, NW). The only square dance club located in Washington, the group invites everyone to learn square dancing in just 16 Mondays. No special outfits, partner or prior dance experience is needed. The cost is $100. For more information or to register, visit dclambdasquares.org.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

The Washington, D.C. International Food and Wine Festival starts tonight at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW). The Wine Tasting Room is free and open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. every day of the event, which ends Feb. 9. The festival also holds signature events everyday as well as seminar series events. The festival offers individual tickets to the events as well as a combination of packages. Tickets vary from $35-$200. The signature event for this evening is the Regional Food and Wine Celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m., featuring several regional wine and food pairings that have evolved over centuries. The cost of this particular event is $95. For more information, visit wineandfooddc.com.

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.

Wednesday, Feb. 6

Gallery B (7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda) opens a February exhibition featuring photographers Howard Clark, Martin Evans, Stephen Hoff and Dave Montgomery today at noon. The opening reception is on Feb. 8 from 6-9 p.m. in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. For details, visit Bethesda.org.

Foundry Gallery (1314 18th St., NW) features “Paintings After Hitler” by Jay Peterzell today at noon. Peterzell’s pastels observe the watercolors by Adolph Hitler and become an examination of Hitler’s political and sexual psychology. This exhibition is part of the gallery’s annual show of new members, including Ana Elisa Benavent, Maruka Carvajal, Meg Mackenzie and Naomi Taitz Duffy. For more information, visit foundrygallery.org.

Bookmen D.C., a men’s gay literature group, meets at Tenleytown Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave, NW) tonight at 7:30 p.m. to discuss “February House: The Story of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Brooklyn” by Sherill Tippins. For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.

The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., SE) tonight at 7:30 p.m. No partner is needed. For more information, visit lambdabridge.com and click “Social Bridge in Washington, D.C.”

Thursday, Feb. 7

Howard University hosts “Birthday Suit: Were You Born Like That” tonight at 7 p.m. in the Blackburn Center (2400 6th St., NW). Birthday Suit is a series of events that highlights the way “people are born.” The first two parts of this series discussed the “History and Ideas Surrounding Natural Hair and Beauty in the Black Community” and how “All Shades are Beautiful.” Part three will be discussing whether homosexuality a choice and the LGBT community in the black population. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

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Books

‘Jackie & Me’ puts a refreshing spin on Camelot

Jack’s gay pal narrates fictional take on iconic love affair

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(Book cover image courtesy of Algonquin)

‘Jackie & Me: A Novel’
By Louis Bayard
c.2022, Algonquin
$28/352 pages

It is a truth that is universally acknowledged: A love story will be not only entertaining, but a moving, thought-provoking page-turner, if it has a gay best friend.

“Jackie & Me” by Louis Bayard, the acclaimed gay novelist, isn’t a Jane Austen tale. But Austen would have appreciated Bayard’s witty, poignant, new novel.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, whether you’re Gen Z or a Boomer, you know about Jack and Jackie Kennedy and Camelot.

Yet, Bayard, in his tenth novel “Jackie & Me,” puts a refreshing spin on this story.

The novel is narrated by Kirk LeMoyne (a.k.a. “Lem”) Billings, Jack’s best friend. Lem has been JFK’s pal since they were students at Choate. Though Lem never says “I’m out and I’m proud,” it’s clear that he’s gay.

Lem is JFK’s fixer and court jester. He pays for Jack’s lunch. If Jack’s in the mood, Lem drinks with him. When Jack needs advice on love affairs, Lem’s on it.  

“Jackie & Me” brings us JFK and Jackie before they were iconic.

The novel takes place in 1952. Jackie, 22, then Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, is the “inquiring photographer” for the Washington Times Herald. Jack, 35, is a Massachusetts congressman. They don’t know each other until they meet up at a party in D.C.

What makes “Jackie & Me” so enjoyable is that Lem is our fly on the wall. He takes us along as the couple date, meet the parents, and wed.

Jack is from a wealthy, Irish, Catholic political family. The Kennedys know everyone from Harry and Bess Truman to Henry and Clare Luce to Joe McCarthy.

Jackie’s father, known as “Black Jack,” was a Wall Street stockbroker. Her mother Janet Auchincloss was a socialite. Her stepfather Hugh Auchincloss was a Standard Oil heir. Unlike many women at the time, Jackie is well educated (with a degree in French literature from Washington University and classes at the Sorbonne in Paris). 

Jack loves sleeping with women, but has no love for marriage. Yet he must marry because “my father says I can’t get elected [president] if I’m not married,” he tells Lem.

Knowing that matrimony is in his future whether he likes it or not, Jack thinks Jackie might be the right woman to marry. But he wants to be sure she’s not involved with other men and that, if they wed, she’ll tolerate his extramarital liaisons. He turns to his dependable buddy Lem and asks him to pal around with Jackie – to spy on her.

Lem isn’t thrilled by this. “Who would I be working for,” he says to Jack, “you? Your father ‘the bossman’?”

While Jack’s been busy in Congress and womanizing, he’s been escorting Jackie about town. They’ve gone to the Smithsonian, laughed at bad Loretta Young movies and gone to an amusement park. They’ve become close friends.

If something happens and Jack doesn’t work out, “would you be my back-up husband,” Jackie, who’s caught on to Jack’s foibles, jokes to Lem.

Billings, who lived from 1916 to 1981, maintained ties with the Kennedy family after Jack’s death.

But “Jackie & Me” is, without apology, a fictional work and “an exercise in alternative history,” Bayard writes in the acknowledgments.

Though a work of fiction, “Jackie & Me” feels true. In the novel, Jackie and Lem are outsiders. Jackie isn’t of the Kennedy family and doesn’t, as many women did then, aspire to be a homemaker. Lem was a closeted gay man when homophobia was socially acceptable.

Lem recalls how at Choate, boys who wanted sex or tenderness from other boys, would write notes on toilet paper. “I’m not that kind of boy,” responds Jack on receiving a note on toilet tissue from Lem.

“Jackie & Me” is intriguing because it’s not, at heart, about the romance of a glittering young couple. It’s an Austenesque triangle: the tale of the twists, turns, love and friendship of three compadres.

It’s a charming, elegant summer read.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Movies

Dorian Awards cast a queer eye on television

Netflix favorite ‘Heartstopper’ nabs three nominations

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Kit Conner and Joe Locke in ‘Heartstopper.’ (Photo courtesy Netflix)

As Hollywood gears up for the year’s second “Awards Season” ahead of July 12’s scheduled announcement of the 2022 Emmy nominations, it seems only fitting for us to bring some attention to another awards organization that has already dropped its picks for the year’s best in TV content. We’re referring, of course, to the Dorian Awards, which have been bestowed by the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics since 2009. 

If you’ve never heard of the Dorians, that’s not surprising. In keeping with the entertainment industry’s frustratingly persistent skittishness when it comes to All Things Queer, the Dorians haven’t gotten much attention in the mainstream press – though with a 385-member voting body and a scandal-free history, they are arguably more reputable than the Golden Globes. Named in honor of iconic queer writer Oscar Wilde (as a reference to his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”), they are admittedly low profile when it comes to glitz and glamour, handing out their prizes at an annual “Winner’s Toast” day party instead of a formal evening affair. Nevertheless, they’ve gained traction as Hollywood’s attitudes toward LGBTQ inclusion and representation have shifted, and each of their two annual ceremonies – one for TV, one for film, held about six months apart – draw an increasing number of A-listers to participate, both as nominees and presenters; and while the Dorians may not hold the level of prestige enjoyed by some of the industry’s other awards, at least we can be sure their voting membership won’t overlook queer shows and talent as often as their counterparts at the Motion Picture and Television Academies.

That doesn’t mean the Dorians are exclusively focused on LGBTQ content. The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics – formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, or GALECA – explicitly states that its awards are to honor “the best in film and TV, mainstream to queer+”, while calling attention to the importance of queer contribution and sensibility within the wider culture and reminding “bullies, bigots, and our own at-risk youth that the world loves the sly Q eye on entertainment.” With some state governments and the SCOTUS itself dedicating themselves an all-out assault on the LGBTQ community and its hard-won rights, that last point seems particularly resonant; with so much homo- and transphobic hate pouring its efforts into erasing us, our visibility is more crucial than ever.

Fortunately, as the slate of Dorian nominees announced by GALECA on June 22 reveals, the queer presence on television is strong. No longer segregated to a “niche” genre, the LGBTQ community has finally begun to appear on our screens as it does in life – blended, alongside everyone else, into a world that has room for us all. That’s what ideal inclusion looks like, and it’s heartening – especially now – to see that it has become the norm in so much of the industry’s best offerings.

This year, HBO leads the pack in terms of nods. Two of its heavily queer-inclusive shows, “Hacks” and “Somebody Somewhere,” received five nominations each, while “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus” snagged 4 and 3, respectively. In total, the cable-and-streaming giant got 24, with an additional 13 for programming exclusively on HBO Max, bringing the total to 37.

Coming in second with less than half that number is Netflix. Among its 15 nominations are three nods for “Heartstopper,” the runaway queer fan favorite based on a sweet UK webcomic about two schoolboys in love, and two each for Natasha Lyonne’s brain-twisting time travel dramedy “Russian Doll” and the already-award-winning Korean thriller “Squid Game.”

New series scored high among Dorian voters this year. Besides “Heartstopper” and “Somebody Somewhere,” ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” Showtime’s “Yellow Jackets,” and Apple TV+’s “Severance” each received multiple nominations, with many other freshman titles picking up individual nods.

As for the awards themselves, the Dorians feature fewer overall categories – instead of being split into “gendered” divisions, actors of all genders compete for a single award in each category – and set themselves apart by striking a mildly tongue-in-cheek pose in the presentation of its “special” accolades. In presenting awards like Campiest TV Show or the brand new “You Deserve an Award” award, the Dorians give a tip of the lavender hat to the tradition of Wildean wit at their back – but they also assert the importance of queer perspective when it comes to taste-making and the aesthetic arts.

Nominees for the 14th Annual Dorian TV Awards (honoring shows which debuted June 1, 2021-May 31, 2022) are listed below. Winners will be revealed on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

BEST TV DRAMA: “Better Call Saul”; “Heartstopper”; “Yellowjackets”; “Severance”; “Succession”

BEST TV COMEDY: “Abbott Elementary”; “Barry”; “Hacks”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag Means Death”

BEST LGBTQ SHOW: “Hacks”; “Heartstopper”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag Means Death”; “Somebody Somewhere”; “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

BEST TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES: “Dopesick”; “The Dropout”; “Midnight Mass”; “Station Eleven”; “The White Lotus”

BEST NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE TV SHOW: “Elite”; “Lupin”; “My Brilliant Friend”; “Pachinko”; “Squid Game”

BEST UNSUNG SHOW: “Better Things”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag Means Death”; “Russian Doll”; “Somebody Somewhere”; “We Are Lady Parts”

BEST TV PERFORMANCE: Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”); Kit Connor (“Heartstopper”); Bridget Everett (“Somebody Somewhere”); Bill Hader (“Barry”); Lily James (“Pam & Tommy”); Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”); Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”); Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”); Jean Smart (“Hacks”); Zendaya (“Euphoria”)

BEST SUPPORTING TV PERFORMANCE: Murray Bartlett (“The White Lotus”); Anthony Carrigan (“Barry”); Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”); Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”); Jeff Hiller (“Somebody Somewhere”); Janelle James (“Abbott Elementary”); Matthew Macfadyen (“Succession”); Christina Ricci (“Yellowjackets”); Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”); Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria”)

BEST TV MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Beyonce, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aeDlZOD-B0″Be Alive” (94th Academy Awards); Kristin Chenoweth and cast, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PmS5JIfSkk”Tribulation” (“Schmigadoon!”); Bridget Everett and Jeff Hiller, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As-a_bzFrl0″Don’t Give Up” (“Somebody Somewhere”); Jean Smart, “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (“Hacks”); Cecily Strong and cast, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj5mJGyoYIM”Corn Puddin’” (“Schmigadoon!”); Hannah Waddingham and cast, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B0HktX4xqQ”Never Gonna Give You Up” (“Ted Lasso”)

BEST TV DOCUMENTARY OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES: “The Andy Warhol Diaries”; “The Beatles: Get Back”; “How to with John Wilson”; “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known”; “We Need to Talk About Cosby”

BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM: “The Amber Ruffin Show”; “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”; “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”; “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”; “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”; “The Rachel Maddow Show”; “ZIWE” (Showtime)

BEST ANIMATED SHOW: “Arcane”; “Big Mouth”; “Bob’s Burgers”; “Q Force”; “Tuca & Bertie”; “What If…?”

BEST REALITY SHOW: “Legendary”; “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans”; “RuPaul’s Drag Race”; “Survivor”; “Top Chef: Houston”; “We’re Here”

MOST VISUALLY STRIKING SHOW: “Euphoria”; “The Gilded Age”; “Loki”; “Severance”: “Squid Game”

CAMPIEST TV SHOW: “Diana: The Musical”; “Euphoria”; “Girls5Eva”; “Nine Perfect Strangers”; “Schmigadoon!”

WILDE WIT AWARD (to a performer, writer or commentator whose observations both challenge and amuse): Joel Kim Booster; Quinta Brunson; Jerrod Carmichael; Jennifer Coolidge; Bowen Yang

THE “YOU DESERVE AN AWARD!” AWARD (to a uniquely talented TV icon we adore): Gillian Anderson; Christine Baranski; Lynda Carter; Kim Cattrall; Cassandra Peterson

GALECA LGBTQIA+ TV TRAILBLAZER (for creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity): Jerrod Carmichael; Margaret Cho; Russell T. Davies; Kate McKinnon; Bowen Yang

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Photos

PHOTOS: 2022 Baltimore Pride

Annual LGBTQ march held on Saturday

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Baltimore Pride 2022 (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

The 2022 Baltimore Pride Parade was held on Saturday, June 25. The march was followed by a block party and entertainment.

(Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)

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