Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Calendar through Feb. 7

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

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Theater

‘Hadestown’ comes to the Kennedy Center

Levi Kreis discusses return to live theater

Published

on

Levi Kreis is an out actor who plays Hermes in the national tour of ‘Hadestown’ soon opening at the Kennedy Center. (Photo courtesy of Levi Kreis)

Hadestown
Through Oct. 31
The Kennedy Center
$45.00 – $175.00
Kennedy-center.org
For Covid-19 safety regulations go to Kennedy-center.org/visit/covid-safety/

Early in September at New York’s Walter Kerr Theatre, out singer/actor Levi Kreis was in the audience for the long-awaited Broadway reopening of “Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell’s rousing musical reimagining of the Orpheus myth in which the legendary Greek hero descends into the underworld to rescue his lover Eurydice. 

After almost 18 months of pandemic-induced closure, the Tony Award-winning folk opera was back and the house was full. In a recent phone interview, Kreis describes the evening as “love-filled, and electrifying and emotional after such a difficult time.” Now, Kreis is onstage in the national tour of “Hadestown,” currently launching at the Kennedy Center. As Hermes, the shape-shifting god of oratory, Kreis is both narrator and chaperone to the story’s young lovers. 

A Tennessee native, Kreis, 39, has triumphantly survived turbulent times including a harrowingly prolonged coming out experience that included six years of conversion therapy, education disruptions, and music contract losses. He officially came out through his acclaimed album “One of the Ones” (2006), which features a collection of piano vocals about past boyfriends. And four years later, he splendidly won a Tony Award for originating the role of rock and roll wild man Jerry Lee Lewis in the rockabilly musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” 

Throughout much of the pandemic, Kreis leaned into his own music and found ways to reconnect with his largely gay fan base. But he’s happy to now be touring, noting that all the “Hadestown” cast have been hungering to perform before a real live audience.

When not on the road, he’s based in New York City with his husband, classical-crossover recording artist Jason Antone. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Hermes is the same role for which André De Shields—the brilliant African American actor, also gay, and some decades your elder won a Tony and has resumed playing on Broadway, right?

LEVI KREIS: That’s right. It’s really a testament to the creative team. Rather than laying us over what Broadway created. They’re creating a tour that’s uniquely different; still true to the beauty of the story but with a different flavor. 

BLADE: What attracted you to the part?

KREIS: First, I fell in love with the show. My own musical sensibilities understand the origins of where this music comes from. It’s very bluesy and gospel. Southern and rootsy. And that’s everything I’ve created in my career as a singer/songwriter.

BLADE: With your life experience, do you feel called to mentor?

KREIS: The biggest effort I’ve given to this narrative is being a pioneer of the out-music movement starting in 2005 which was a moment when gay artists were not signed to major labels. I want through eight major labels—when they found out I was gay things always went south. 

It’s been amazing to be a voice in LGBTQ media when no one was speaking about these things. It’s popular now, but back when it mattered it was a lot harder to start my career as an openly gay artist and speak about these issues rather than keep quiet, cash in, and only then come out. 

BLADE: Where did that nerve come from?

KREIS: Less about nerve and more about being beaten down. How many things have to happen before you give up and decide to be honest?  

BLADE: For many theatergoers, “Hadestown” will be their return to live theater. Other than it being visionary and remarkably entertaining, why would you recommend it? 

KREIS: We need encouragement right now. But we also need art that facilitates a lot of important conversation about what’s happening in the world. This has both elements.  

“Hadestown” is not a piece of art that you easily forget. You’re going to walk out of the theater with a story that sticks with you. You’ll realized that your own voice matters. There’s a part in the show, Orpheus’ song, when the gods encourage him to get the balance of the world back again by telling him that his voice matters. 

BLADE: Is it timely?

KREIS: Art is here to change the world. And this piece of art hits the nail right on the head. I’m a purist when it comes to art and song. There’s a reason why we do it. people are listening now in a way they haven’t listened before. To miss that is to miss the role of society, I think. 

BLADE: And going forward? 

KREIS: It’s going to be interesting. We could double down on super commercialized theater or we may decide to really go the other direction and reclaim innovation. That remains to be seen. 

Continue Reading

Books

Book details fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Clinton-era policy was horrific for LGB servicemembers

Published

on

‘Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
By C. Dixon Osburn
c.2021, self-published $35 hardcover, paperback $25, Kindle $12.99 / 450 pages

When Senior Airman Brandi Grijalva was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, she talked with a chaplain’s assistant about some problems she had at home. The chaplain’s assistant said what she told him would be confidential. But when she revealed that she was a lesbian, the chaplain’s assistant no longer kept her conversation with him confidential. Grijalva, after being investigated was discharged.

Craig Haack was a corporal in the Marines serving in Okinawa, Japan. Haack, who had made it through boot camp, felt confident. Until investigators barged into his barracks. Looking for evidence “of homosexual conduct,” they ransacked everything from his computers to his platform shoes. Haack was too stunned to respond when asked if he was gay.

In 1996, Lt. Col. Steve Loomis’ house was burned down by an Army private. The Army discharged the private who torched Loomis’ house. You’d think the Army would have supported Loomis. But you’d be wrong. The army discharged Loomis for conduct unbecoming an officer because a fire marshal found a homemade sex tape in the ashes.

These are just a few of the enraging, poignant, at times absurd (platform shoes?), all-too-true stories told in “Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by C. Dixon Osburn.

As a rule, I don’t review self-published books. But “Mission Possible” is the stunning exception that proves that rules, on occasion, are made to be broken.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was the official U.S. policy on gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the military. Former President Bill Clinton announced the policy on July 19, 1993. It took effect on Feb. 28, 1994.

Sexual orientation was covered by DADT. Gender identity was covered by separate Department of Defense regulations.

Congress voted to repeal DADT in December 2010 (the House on Dec. 15, 2010, and the Senate on Dec. 18, 2010). On Dec. 22, 2010, Former President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law. 

DADT banned gay, lesbian and bisexual people who were out from serving in the U.S. military. Under DADT, it was not permitted to ask if servicemembers were LGB. But, LGB servicemembers couldn’t be out. They couldn’t talk about their partners, carry photos of their girlfriends or boyfriends or list their same-sex partner as their emergency contract.

It took nearly a year for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to go into effect. On Sept. 20, 2011, Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “certified to Congress that implementing repeal of the policy {DADT} would have no effect on military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion or recruiting and retention,” Osburn writes.

Before DADT, out LGBT people weren’t permitted to serve in the military. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was intended to be a compromise—a policy that would be less onerous on LGB people, but that would pass muster with people who believed that gay servicemembers would destroy military readiness, morale and unit cohesion.

Like many in the queer community, I knew that DADT was a horror-show from the get-go. Over the 17 years that DADT was in effect, an estimated 14,000 LGB servicemembers were discharged because of their sexual orientation, according to the Veterans Administration.

But, I had no idea how horrific “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was until I read “Mission Possible.”              

In “Mission Possible,” Osburn, who with Michelle Benecke, co-founded the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), pulls off a nearly impossible hat trick.

In a clear, vivid, often spellbinding narrative, Osburn tells the complex history of the DADT-repeal effort as well as the stories of servicemembers who were pelted with gay slurs, assaulted and murdered under DADT.

Hats off to SLDN, now known as the Modern Military Association of America, for its heroic work to repeal DADT! (Other LGBTQ+ organizations worked on the repeal effort, but SLDN did the lion’s share of the work.)

You wouldn’t think a 450-pager about repealing a policy would keep you up all night reading. But, “Mission Possible” will keep you wide-awake. You won’t need the espresso.

Continue Reading

Arts & Entertainment

NSYNC star Lance Bass & husband Michael Turchin welcome twins

Singer, husband, and popular West Hollywood nightclub owner, now adds the job of ‘Dad’ to his resume

Published

on

Lance Bass and Michael Turchin via Instagram

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Former boy-band NSYNC star and co-owner of the popular LGBTQ+ nightspot Rocco’s, Lance Bass, announced that he and husband Michael Turchin are the proud parents of twins, Violet Betty and Alexander James.

In his announcement on Instagram, Bass wrote; ‘The baby dragons have arrived!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I can not express how much love I feel right now. Thank you for all the kind wishes. It meant a lot. Now, how do you change a diaper??! Ahhhhhhhh!”

The babies were carried via surrogate, the singer noted saying that Alexander, born one minute before his sister on Wednesday, weighed 4 lbs., 14 oz. Violet weighed 4 lbs., 11 oz. Bass said in his Instagram post.

His husband also announced the news on his Instagram account. “Introducing the newest members of the Turchin-Bass household: Violet Betty and Alexander James!!!! They’re pure perfection and yes that includes the dozens of poops we’ve already dealt with. Our hearts our full!!! Thank you everyone for the well wishes 🥰🥰🥰”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular