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Clive Davis comes out as bisexual

Music producer acknowledges bisexuality in memoir

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Clive Davis, gay news, Washington Blade

Clive Davis (Photo by Christopher Peterson via Wikimedia Commons)

Legendary music producer Clive Davis acknowledges his bisexuality in his memoir that hit bookstores on Tuesday.

“I was only turning to bisexuality after my second marriage failed, so that it was not an issue through my life,” he told Katie Couric during a segment about his book on her talk show. “Neither of my marriages were affected. I was totally attracted to women. When the marriage failed in the mid-80s, I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have a relationship with a man as well as with the two that I had with a woman.”

Rolling Stone reported Davis, 80, wrote in “The Soundtrack of My Life” that he had his first sexual encounter with another man during “the era of Studio 54.” He said he was in a “monogamous relationship” with a male doctor from 1990 to 2004.

Davis, who told Couric he is currently in a relationship with another man, said he “immediately” revealed his bisexuality to his four children and close friends.

“I felt it was private,” he said. “I did immediately reveal it to the people who count. I just didn’t hold a sign up.”

Davis acknowledged attitudes against bisexuality also contributed to his decision to not publicly come out.

“There was an attitude towards bisexuality, pervasive, that you were either gay, you’re straight or you’re lying,” he said. “It’s not true. So I knew that when I decided to write my autobiography that this was something that I was certainly going to be forthcoming about and I wrote about it.”

Davis, who has worked with hundreds of artists including Janis Joplin, Alicia Keys and the late-Whitney Houston, told Couric he hopes his decision to come out will help change attitudes about those who are bisexual.

I’m still attracted to women,” he said. “You don’t have to be only one thing or another. For me, it’s the person. I’m in a monogamous relationship. I respect monogamy, and I hope that this is understood.”

Davis also recalled the last conversation he had with Houston two days before her Feb. 2012 death.

“She was full of life looking forward,” he told Couric.

Houston had been scheduled to attend Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party that took place at the same Los Angeles hotel at which she passed away hours before.

“It was stunning,” Davis told Couric when asked how he reacted to Houston’s death. “It was devastating, and obviously compounded by the fact we had this enormous party she was there for. I knew it had to go on. I knew that she would want the music to go on.”

He further acknowledged Houston’s decades-long struggle with addiction.

“Ultimately there’s no question she faced a legal killer in drugs,” Davis said. “I don’t know if she ever took it as seriously as she should have. The power of drugs gets everybody. And that’s what happened to Whitney Houston, tragically.”

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PHOTOS: “Portraits”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs at the Kennedy Center

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A scene from "Portraits," as performed in a technical rehearsal at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, June 15. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed “Portraits” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Sophie Zmorrod embracing life on the road in ‘Kite Runner’

First national tour comes to Eisenhower Theater on June 25

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Sophie Zmorrod (Photo courtesy of Zmorrod)

‘The Kite Runner’
June 25 – 30
The Kennedy Center
$39-$149
Kennedy-center.org

Newly single, Sophie Zmorrod is enjoying life on the road in the first national tour of “The Kite Runner,” Matthew Spangler’s play with music based on Khaled Hosseini’s gripping novel about damaged relationships and longed for redemption. 

“It’s a wonderful time for me,” says Zmorrod. “I’m past the breakup pain and feeling empowered to explore new cities. A lot of us in the cast are queer, so we figure out the scene wherever the show goes.” 

What’s more, the New York-based actor has fallen in love with the work. “I love how the play’s central character Amir is flawed. He is our antihero. He has faults. As a privileged boy in Kabul, he bears witness to his best friend’s assault and doesn’t intervene. He lives with that guilt for decades and gets that redemption in the end.” 

“He does what he can to right wrongs. For me who’s regretted things, and wished I could go back in time, it resonates. Watching someone forgive themselves and do the right thing is beautiful.” 

Via phone from Chicago (the tour’s stop before moving on to Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on June 25), Zmorrod, whose background is Lebanese, happily chats about sexuality, ethnicity, and acting. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Looking at your resume, I see you’ve been cast in roles traditionally played by men. And have you played queer characters? 

SOPHIE ZMORROD: Oh yes, both. Whether or not they’re written on the page as queer, they sometimes turn out that way. And that holds true for this show too.  

With “The Winter’s Tale” at Trinity Rep, I played Leontes — the king who banishes his wife — as a woman. So, in that production it was about two women and touched on the violence that women sometimes inflict on other women.

And there was Beadle Bamford in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” also at Trinity Rep; I played him as a woman who was masculine and wore a suit. It was a great opportunity to explore myself and gender expression. That was a really good experience. 

BLADE: Are you an actor who’s often be called in for queer roles? 

ZMORRAD: Not really. I’m what you might call straight passing. Sometimes I’ve had to advocate for my queerness. To be a part of something. 

Similarly with my ethnicity. I’m called in to audition for the white and Arab roles. It gets tricky because I’m not the exactly the white girl next door and I’m not exactly Jasmine from Disney’s “Aladdin” either. 

This is one of the reasons, I really want people to come see “The Kite Runner,” Audiences need to experience the reality of the wide diversity of Middle Eastern people on the stage. We’re all very different.

And not incidentally, from this 14-person cast, I’ve met some great people to add to those I know from the Middle Eastern affinity spaces and groups I’m connected to in New York.

BLADE: In “The Kite Runner” what parts do you play?

 ZMORRAD: Three characters. All women, I think. In the first act, I’m an elderly eccentric pomegranate seller in the Afghan market, waddling around, speaking in Dari [the lingua franca of Afghanistan]; and the second act, I’m young hip and sell records in a San Francisco market; and at the end, I’m a buttoned-down American immigration bureaucrat advising Amir about adoption.

BLADE:  Your training is impressive: BA cum laude in music from Columbia University, an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, and you’re also accomplished in opera and playwrighting, to name a few things. Does “The Kite Runner” allow you to flex your many muscles? 

ZMORROD: Very much. Playing multiple roles is always fun for an actor – we like malleability. Also, there are instruments on stage. I like working with the singing bowl; it’s usually used in yoga as a soothing sound, but here we save it for the dramatic, uncomfortable moments. I also sing from offstage. 

We are creating the world of the play on a very minimal set. Oh, and we do kite flying, and I’m able to use the some of the languages I speak. So yeah, lots of challenges. It’s great. 

BLADE: It sounds like you’re in a good place both professionally and personally.

ZMORROD: It’s taken a long time to feel comfortable. My being gay was never something I led with. But I’m on the journey and excited to be where I am, and who I am. 

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Out & About

Orioles to host Pride night on June 27

Baltimore faces off against reigning World Series champion

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The Baltimore Orioles host the annual Pride night Thursday, June 27. (Washington Blade file photo by Kevin Majoros)

The Baltimore Orioles will host “LGBTQ+ Pride Night” on Thursday, June 27. There will be a live DJ at Legends Park before the 6:35 p.m. game against the reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers.

The event, co-sponsored by the Washington Blade, will feature Pride-themed activities such as Pride face painting, a 360 photo booth, Pride temporary tattoos, and more. All these events will be in the Bullpen Picnic Area. In addition, the first 10,000 attendees receive a free Pride jersey.

For more details, visit the Orioles’ website

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