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Queery: DJ Rosie Hicks

The popular lesbian MC on teaching, her kids, and filling the floor

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Rosie Hicks, DJ Rosie, Queery, gay news, Washington Blade
Rosie Hicks, DJ Rosie, Queery, gay news, Washington Blade

Rosie Hicks (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sleep experts say some people just need less sleep than others. DJ Rosie Hicks must be one of those — her toughest night is Thursday when she does hip-hop night at Club Hippo in Baltimore until 2 a.m., then has to be at work at 7:30 a.m. teaching special ed at one of the Kennedy Krieger schools.

For years she DJ’ed on both Thursday and Friday nights but only does one Friday night a month now.

“I don’t know, I just do it,” she says. “I’m used to it at this point. I’m fortunate I love both my jobs so I just go into it knowing I’m going to be a little more tired on Fridays.”

Hicks started spinning at Gallagher’s, a former women’s bar in Baltimore about 12 years ago. She was there one night when the manager fired the DJ and told the patrons they would have to provide their own music that night.

“I got hired that night,” Hicks says. “By the end of the night, all my friends were calling me DJ Rosie. I had never DJ’ed a day in my life.”

And she never stopped — in addition to her Hippo gig, she also has monthly nights at Cobalt (she’s spun for LURe since it started) and Phase 1 of Dupont in Washington. She also does weddings, parties and private events. Listen for her at the Her HRC event Sunday from 6-11 p.m. upstairs at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.). Her set is at 10 p.m. She’ll face off with lesbian DJs from Philadelphia, Boston and Washington. Tickets are available at the door or online. The event has its own page at hrc.org.

Hicks, who spins a mix of hip-hop, R&B, pop and more depending on the event, says she just all-around loves music.

“I love making people happy out there,” the 30-year-old Baltimore native says. “The whole point of coming out to a bar or club to hear a DJ is to let go of worries and cares and enjoy it.”

Hicks has lived in Baltimore her whole life except for a brief stint in Cincinnati in 2007. She lives in Hamilton, the same East Baltimore neighborhood in which she grew up. She and long-time partner Kris got married after five years together last fall. Together they’re raising daughters Khenna, 8, and Jaidenne, 11 (Kris’s from a previous marriage).

In her free time, Hicks enjoys coaching her daughter’s soccer team, sports, watching the Ravens and, of course, DJing.

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

I’ve been out since I was 18 years old. I was most afraid to tell my father, because I have a much older brother who is also gay and my father almost never talked about him. About seven months into being out, I mentioned to my dad in a nonchalant way that I went out with a girl I was dating at the time. He asked me why I never told him that I was interested in women, and I replied that I was afraid. He told me that he loved me, already knew and it didn’t matter. Twelve years later, he and my mother continue to be my biggest supporters.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

I really like both Ellen and Rosie O’Donnell. Both of these women live or have lived their lives in front of cameras and are fully honest about their lives and marriages to women, yet continue to be successful individuals in the entertainment industry.

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

I’ll never forget my first visit to a gay club in D.C., the Hung Jury. It was a week after my 18th birthday and I had never danced with a woman before. Although I wouldn’t vote this club to be the “best” (more like a hole in the wall), I was certainly thankful that a club existed for 18 year olds to go and party with other women, as I had never experienced that and needed it. Venues for the underage crowd no longer exist! Fast forward to modern day D.C., and I absolutely love what women’s events I’m a part of, especially any LURe event. We recently celebrated our four-year anniversary at Cobalt and I’ve got nothing but love for that venue!

Describe your dream wedding.

I already had it right here in Baltimore on Oct. 12, 2012 at Cylburn Arboretum. We were surrounded by 125 friends and family, our parents walked down the aisle with us, the weather was perfect and everything went as planned! The icing on the cake? Not wanting to wait to see if Maryland passed marriage equality, we made our marriage official in D.C. a week prior, which requires a D.C. address on your certificate. Instead of having it done at the courthouse, a good friend of mine who is an officiant in the D.C. area married us at our favorite coffee shop, Starbucks on 14th Street!

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

I am very passionate about working with individuals with special needs especially those who are in the process of exiting the school system and preparing for the transition into adulthood.

What historical outcome would you change?

I would bring back some of our most iconic figures who were lost too soon. There were too many people who were wise beyond their years and taken away from us. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, etc.

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

Boy bands and the fact that I still love them. But I’m talking ‘NSYNC, 98 degrees, and the Backstreet Boys. I know all the words and I’m not even ashamed! Losing Michael Jackson was also really tough.

On what do you insist?

Honesty, loyalty, integrity, laughter and a lack of overall B.S.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“Whyyyy do I always need the bathroom in an emergency fashion after leaving work?”

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

“Dear Rosie, When Do You Sleep?”

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

I’d probably change the channel. I like being me, and I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without the fact that I’m a woman who loves women.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I’m a non-church attending Christian, who has had plenty of personal proof that God is looking out for us. I’m far from a Bible thumper and would never try to sway even one person to believe what I do. With that said, I’m sure there is a DJ booth in the sky with my name on it whenever it’s that time.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Always remember to give back to the community that supports you and be grateful. None of us got where we are without support from someone.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My wife Kris, my kids and my parents.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That there has to be a “guy” and a “girl” or rigid gender roles in every same-sex relationship. People assume that I’m the “guy” because I despise dresses and don’t do makeup. You know what they say about assuming right?

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

I haven’t watched any LGBT movies in ages, but my coming out movie was definitely “But I’m a Cheerleader.”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Valentine’s Day! Totally a waste of money. You should show your significant other love every day of the year.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

Winning Best DJ in the 2012 Washington Blade Best of Gay D.C. was pretty amazing for me. It felt like my last 11 years of working hard to entertain the LGBT community finally paid off! I’d also say my two college degrees feel pretty good.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That 90 percent of the people I stressed about being my friend/dating me/ spending time with me at that time would only lead me to bigger and better things, and that it’s OK to lose some people along the way. The 10 percent who are still here (and you know who you are) are so very special to me and I’m always going to be thankful for that. Your social world at that time means so much to you, but as you get older and more focused, you see what’s truly important.

Why Washington?

I love the people, the culture and diversity, the energy and the nightlife. It’s the city that loves you back! Thank you D.C. for all the years we’ve shared, and here’s to many more!

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Real Estate

Leather and lace in your home decor

From couches to countertops, add some flair

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Leather isn’t just for couches anymore; you can find it in countertops and a wide range of décor.

When I was very young, I would visit my maternal grandmother and marvel at the hand-tatted and crocheted doilies that adorned the arms and backs of her sofa and chairs. They were also found on her dressers and side tables, and on the dining table as coasters and placemats, to prevent scratches on the furniture. Like snowflakes, the designs of the doilies were both intricate and individual.

I’m convinced that people had better posture in the early 20th century, because I never saw the remnants of men’s hair tonic, Macassar oil, or pomade on Nana’s doilies, even though they were there to keep the furniture from absorbing those hair products. Certainly, people weren’t the couch potatoes lounging on sofas then that we are today. Being able to Netflix and chill was a long way off.

I was impressed with the amount of work that had gone into such a little piece of fabric, so I later tried to learn to crochet. Sadly, all I was able to accomplish was string after string, never having been taught how to join those strings together to resemble a doily. At least with knitting, I was able to form squares large enough to be blankets for my Barbie.

In my mid-century childhood, doilies were put away and saved for grandchildren who, years later, would neither want them nor appreciate their historical value. The ‘50s saw polyvinyl chloride (PVC) go from a commercial substance used frequently in post-WWII construction to a residential fabric that we now refer to fondly as “pleather.” I can still remember the sound of my thighs peeling off the vinyl banquette at the diner when I would get up to leave a booth.

To be without a leather couch in the ‘60s was déclassé and, although styles have changed, such a couch remains a timeless piece. These days, if you are looking for a little more leather in your life and in your home, you can look beyond that couch and chair, where options range from the subdued to the highly decorative.

While vinyl is still the least expensive leather-look fabric, we now have “bonded” leather, made with scraps that are bonded together using polyurethane or latex. As you can tell from the prices of such furniture, the actual leather used in the process can vary from 10-90 percent.

Of course, top grain leather is the most expensive, and we have suede, die cut, embossed, patent, and a variety of other techniques used to change the look of a hide. In addition, there is now vegan leather.

For something unique for your kitchen or bar, check out the tooled leather countertop from Kosel Saddlery (koselsaddles.wixsite.com/marty) in Montana. They also make saddles and chaps.

Instead of the shiny granite counters that we all know, MSI Surfaces (msisurfaces.com) makes honed and leathered granite finishes for a more subtle appearance and has dealers throughout the DMV. 

For a do-it-yourself application, Amazon sells the Aspect brand eight-pack of leather glass, peel and stick subway tiles for backsplashes in five neutral colors for less than $20 each.

EcoDomo (ecodomo.com) in Gaithersburg offers a variety of custom leather treatments, including countertops, door and cabinet panels, floor planks and tiles, and wall systems. Your color choices aren’t limited to black or brown either. They can manufacture pieces in blue, red, green, and even in custom colors to match other items in your décor.

Many online stores such as Wayfair and Overstock carry real and faux leather headboards, footstools, poufs and benches at affordable prices. 

There’s always something in leather at Pottery Barn, even for the conservative budget: pieced leather pillows, tufted stools, basket collections, and even a leather-bound coffee table book for cigar aficionados. 

If you’re looking for small accent pieces, try a leather coaster, placemat, napkin ring, or my personal favorite, a cutlery pouch for your tableware collection from Lucrin Geneva (lucrin.com). They also offer office accessories such as crocodile desk sets, wastebaskets and storage boxes.

And for the connoisseur of leather, vinyl, rubber, or even neoprene items of a more personal nature, head to the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency this Friday through Sunday for Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend. With plenty of specialty items, high-impact fashion, toys and games for all ages and yes, even custom-made furniture among the vendor exhibitions, you’re sure to find something that will tickle your fancy.

Just remember that you (and your puppy) must both be vaccinated and masked to attend. We take COVID (and rabies) very seriously here in D.C.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate.  Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Dining

Winter Restaurant Week a welcome escape from the cold

Enjoy D.C.’s diverse culinary scene at great prices

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KNEAD Hospitality + Design’s Gatsby is among the hotspots participating in this year’s RAMW Winter Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy of KNEAD Hospitality + Design)

Saving Washington, D.C. diners from winter doldrums, RAMW Winter Restaurant Week is back in action. It returns Jan. 17-23 with the motto of “Dine Out. Take Out. Eat Up.”

The city’s signature winter dining event is back as a one-week promotion focused on dining out and tasting the city’s diverse culinary scene. Yet it also is providing diners with newer programs that they have grown to love over the past few cycles. These include the popular “RW-To-Go” takeout dinner meals, outdoor dining spaces, as well as cocktail pairings, allowing diners to take advantage of a range of indoor/outdoor comfort levels and dining opportunities.

Participating restaurants are set to offer multi-course brunch and lunch menus for $25 per person, and multi-course dinner menus for $40 or $55 per person for on-premises dining. Most are offering the traditional three-course meals, while others may include extras.

Many restaurants will also offer the RW-To-Go dinner meals, a program introduced in 2019, available at two price points: $70 or $100 for two people and $140 or $200 for four people.

More than 200 restaurants across the area are participating. 

“Our restaurants have shown resilience, creativity, and perseverance over the past two years, and they continue to count on the amazing support of loyal diners and newcomers through promotions like Restaurant Week,” said RAMW President & CEO Kathy Hollinger. “Designed to get diners out to experience all our great food scene has to offer, we have evolved this turnkey promotion to help meet diners where they are in terms of comfort. With offerings to include RW-To-Go, curbside pickup and delivery, heated patios, cozy igloos and indoor dining, there is truly something for anyone looking to support their favorite spot or try something new.”

New restaurants participating in Winter Restaurant Week include Ala, Bar Chinois, Bistro Du Jour, The Mayflower Club, Officina Cafe, Penny Royal Station, and Urban Roast in the District; Diabolo’s Cantina at MGM and Rosa Mexicano at National Harbor; North Italia Tysons; and the newest The Capital Grille location in Fairfax.

2021 RAMMYS Winners and finalists participating include Convivial, Cranes (also Michelin-starred), Espita, Estadio, iRicchi, and Sababa. 

In the 14th Street and Dupont Circle areas, popular participating restaurants include Agora, Cork, Duke’s, Floriana, and Sushi Taro, among others. 

Winter Restaurant Week also extends beyond core neighborhoods, stretching far past the city’s borders. Areas like Takoma Park and Bethesda in Maryland, and Alexandria and National Landing in Virginia, are also hosting participating restaurants. 

Some spots are offering additional deals, extended timelines, and other options. “I’m excited about the creativity of our local restaurants,” says Hollinger, “with their offers and spaces that give diners great experiences during the promotion, and the flexibility to dine in the way that works for them whether indoor, in heated outdoor dining spaces or at home with our Restaurant Week To-Go program.”

For example, Ambar (both the D.C. and Clarendon locales) will have a $70 seven-course to-go menu for two people. The deal includes a bottle of wine in addition to the food. 

Schlow Restaurant Group has a $40 gift card for more than three meals at any of its restaurants, including NAMA Sushi Bar and TICO in D.C. and Alta Strada Italian Restaurants in D.C. and Fairfax. 

James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schlow says, “This is a great way for Restaurant Week diners to experience more of our menu offerings, and perhaps explore some of our restaurants they haven’t tried yet. Plus, with [our] Restaurant Week extended an additional week through Jan. 30, there’s ample time to dine.”

Gay-owned KNEAD Hospitality + Design group is involving all its restaurants in the promotion. The group’s restaurants include Gatsby, Mi Vida, The Grill, and more. Owner Jason Berry notes that he is “excited to participate in this year’s winter restaurant week. Each year Restaurant Week brings new diners to our doors to experience the creativity and talent our staff continues to showcase at our restaurants.”

Recall that the city has reinstated mask mandates for indoor spaces. In addition, On Jan. 15, 2022, per Mayor’s Order 2021-148, the District of Columbia adopts a citywide vaccination entry requirement that requires COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor facilities within the city. This includes restaurants and bars.

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Real Estate

What to know if you’re buying or selling in 2022

Research interest rates, contractors now before spring arrives

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Spring will be here before you know it so prepare for buying and selling a home now.

The years 2020 and 2021 were wild on the books for real estate. Many successfully sold a house, bought a house, or sold a smaller residence and bought a larger one due to the new “needs” that they realized they had.  

After a year or more of staying home, working from home, dining out (at home), studying from home, many just realized they needed a different home than the one they were sitting in.  Many experts are saying that 2022 might be the year we go back to our “normal cycles” in real estate. If that is the case, then what does that mean?  

It means that right now, first time buyers can find deals on one- or two-bedroom condos that are sitting on the market, and the single family home market is going to be ramping up in the spring, when more buyers are out in the streets and more homes are getting ready to go on the market. So, if you are thinking of selling this year, you might already need to be calling painters, carpenters, and other contractors to do those little projects that make a home ready for photographs and to be shown in its best light. Now that the holidays are over, many of the contractors we hire start getting calls, and their schedules start to fill up. As a Compass agent, we have the “Concierge” program that helps sellers to finance, at zero interest, projects that spruce up their home, and then it gets paid back when the home sells. I know other brokerages have some similar programs, also. 

If you are going to buy a home this year, you might want to seriously look at how long homes have been sitting in the market in the neighborhoods that interest you. If the “days on market” are more than 20, 30, 40 or even 50 days, this might be your time to strike. Call a local lender or two and see what interest rate you can get and how much you can get approved for a loan. Interest rates could be going up this year, so you might want to get this done in the first half of the year, if your current situation allows.  

At any rate, if you are thinking of making a move this year, feel free to sign up for one of my homebuyer seminars, or give me (or your favorite Realtor) a call and find out what you need to do to get ready to make this move.

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with the Rutstein Group of Compass. Reach him at [email protected] or 703-587-0597.

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