Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Galleries: The art of the matter

D.C. galleries — and one in New York — have bounty of queer and D.C.-themed shows planned



The Helpful Angels, Alfonso Ossorio, gay news, Washington Blade
The Helpful Angels, Alfonso Ossorio, gay news, Washington Blade

The Helpful Angels,’ a work by late gay artist Alfonso Ossorio on display now at the Phillips Collection. (Image courtesy Phillips)

The Phillips Collection (1600 21st St., N.W.) exhibits “Angels, Demons and Savages,” a showcase of work by Jackson Pollock, Jean Dubuffet and the openly gay Alfonso Ossorio. In their time, Ossorio was friends with both Pollock and Dubuffet, and the showcase, featuring 55 pieces by the three men, connects the three artists in a celebration of key postwar art. The exhibit is already open and runs through March 12. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free for members and children. For more information, visit

Yes, it’s in the Big Apple, but worth checking out if you’re up that way — the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (26 Wooster St., New York) presents two simultaneous exhibitions showcasing queer history.

“Rare & Raw” combines illustrations, photographs, video and more exploring themes of queer history. The exhibit pairs works of older artists and younger counterparts to highlight how different generations address the same issues.

“Making History, Making Art: the Work of Jonathan Ned Katz” explores the artistic career of a late-emerging artist, renowned historian of queer history Jonathan Ned Katz. The exhibit shows shifting political landscapes transformed how sexual difference is represented. Both exhibits are currently running through March 31. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Hemphill’s Carroll Square Gallery (975 F Street) is featuring “Currents,” an exhibit showcasing four emerging talents in the Mid-Atlantic region. One artist in the group, openly gay Mexican-American René Treviño, attempts to retell history from an underrepresented perspective. His work challenges social norms and explores his need to find his place in the world. The exhibit runs until April 25. Admission is free.

For more information, visit

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., N.W.) has two exhibitions running through the month of March.

“Icons” by Steve Alderton features paintings influenced by the styles of Byzantine icons. He focuses on seemingly insignificant traits, such as an eye’s focus or the slight hint of a smile, to subtly hint at a subject’s complex persona.

“It’s Greek to Me” is a modern reinterpretation of Greek mythology. Narcissus, clad only in white briefs, ogles his reflection in a chrome toaster in his kitchen. Europa is a cowgirl at a rodeo. Prometheus sports a farmer tan. The artist, Timothy Johnson, will complete the collection with one final piece he will paint in person on Saturdays and Sundays throughout March.

For more information on these exhibits, visit

Corcoran Gallery of Art (500 17th St., N.W.) is featuring several exhibitions over the next few months.

On display until April 21 is “Shooting Stars: Publicity Stills from Early Hollywood and Portraits by Andy Warhol.” It features promotional photos of early Hollywood stars, such as Rudolph Valentino and Mary Pickford, alongside Warhol’s photos of figures such as Sen. Ted Kennedy and his Factory “superstars,” like Jackie Curtis.

“Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s” explores the D.C. underground of the ‘80s, focusing on graffiti, go-go music and the punk and hardcore scenes. Some items showcased include day-glo concert posters, stage clothes, newspaper clippings, video loops, and more. The exhibition runs through April 7.

“How Is the World? Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Photography” brings together work by several photographers, each with wide-ranging issues of the world addressed in their art. It runs from March 9-May 26.

“David Levinthal: War Games” features photographs of staged tableaux depicting war using toys. Some scenes depicted include images of the American Indian Wars, World War II, and contemporary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibition runs from May 11-Sept 1.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and free for children 12 and younger. For more information on these exhibitions, visit

Zenith Gallery is celebrating its 35th year with several exhibits.

“Is that President Obama at the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership?” is an inauguration art show ending Monday (act fast!). The exhibit features local artists celebrating the uniqueness of Washington, including iconic symbols and architecture of the city. It is held at 1495 S St., N.W.

“The Best of All Worlds … Traditional and Modern Art” showcases paintings and sculptures that embrace the beauty of the D.C. region with depictions of natural and man-made creations. The exhibit is being held at 1111 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. until April 27.

“Trees-The World’s Greatest Cooperators” highlights the crucial relationship between humans and trees. The pieces celebrate one of the most enduring resources on earth and respect the majesty of trees around the world and in D.C., including the Cherry Blossoms. The exhibit runs from March 17-June 1 at 1429 Iris St., N.W.

For more information, visit

Studio Gallery (2108 R St., N.W.) presents two exhibits: a solo show with Angelika Wamsler’s “soulprint” and a duo show with “Hanna’s Table” by Chris Chernow and “Found Art” by Amy B. Davis. Both exhibitions run until March 23.

For more information, visit



New book explores why we categorize sports according to gender

You can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think



‘Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates’
By Katie Barnes
c.2023, St. Martin’s Press
$29/304 pages

The jump shot happened so quickly, so perfectly.

Your favorite player was in the air in a heartbeat, basketball in hand, wrist cocked. One flick and it was all swish, three points, just like that, and your team was ahead. So are you watching men’s basketball or women’s basketball? Or, as in the new book, “Fair Play” by Katie Barnes, should it really matter?

For sports fans, this may come as a surprise: we categorize sports according to gender.

Football, baseball, wresting: male sports. Gymnastics, volleyball: women’s sports. And yet, one weekend spent cruising around television shows you that those sports are enjoyed by both men and women – but we question the sexuality of athletes who dare (gasp!) to cross invisible lines for a sport they love.

How did sports “become a flash point for a broader conversation?”

Barnes takes readers back first to 1967, when Kathrine Switzer and Bobbi Gibb both ran in the Boston Marathon. It was the first time women had audaciously done so and while both finished the race, their efforts didn’t sit well with the men who made the rules.

“Thirty-seven words” changed the country in 1972 when Title IX was signed, which guaranteed there’d be no discrimination in extracurricular events, as long as “federal financial assistance” was taken. It guaranteed availability for sports participation for millions of girls in schools and colleges. It also “enshrine[d] protections for queer and transgender youth to access school sports.”

So why the debate about competition across gender lines?

First, says Barnes, we can’t change biology, or human bodies that contain both testosterone and estrogen, or that some athletes naturally have more of one or the other – all of which factor into the debate. We shouldn’t forget that women can and do compete with men in some sports, and they sometimes win. We shouldn’t ignore the presence of transgender men in sports.

What we should do, Barnes says, is to “write a new story. One that works better.”

Here are two facts: Nobody likes change. And everybody has an opinion.

Keep those two statements in mind when you read “Fair Play.” They’ll keep you calm in this debate, as will author Katie Barnes’ lack of flame fanning.

As a sports fan, an athlete, and someone who’s binary, Barnes makes things relatively even-keel in this book, which is a breath of fresh air in what’s generally ferociously contentious. There’s a good balance of science and social commentary here, and the many, many stories that Barnes shares are entertaining and informative, as well as illustrative. Readers will come away with a good understanding of where the debate lies.

But will this book make a difference?

Maybe. Much will depend on who reads and absorbs it. Barnes offers plenty to ponder but alas, you can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think. Still, if you’ve got skin in this particular bunch of games, find “Fair Play” and jump on it.

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

Continue Reading


An exciting revival of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre

Out actor Caesar Samayoa on portraying iconic role of President Perón



Caesar Samayoa (center) and the cast of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company. (Photo by DJ Corey Photography) 

Through Oct. 15
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Harman Hall
610 F St., N.W.

When Eva Perón died of cancer at 33 in 1952, the people’s reaction was so intense that Argentina literally ran out of cut flowers. Mourners were forced to fly in stems from neighboring countries, explains out actor Caesar Samayoa. 

For Samayoa, playing President Perón to Shireen Pimental’s First Lady Eva in director Sammi Cannold’s exciting revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at Shakespeare Theatre Company is a dream fulfilled. 

As a Guatemalan-American kid, he had a foot in two worlds. Samayoa lived and went to school in suburban Emerson, N.J. But he spent evenings working at his parents’ botanica in Spanish Harlem. 

During the drives back and forth in the family station wagon, he remembers listening to “Evita” on his cassette player: “It’s the first cast album I remember really hearing and understanding. I longed to be in the show.”

As an undergrad, he transferred from Bucknell University where he studied Japanese international relations to a drama major at Ithica College. His first professional gig was in 1997 playing Juliet in Joe Calarco’s off-Broadway “Shakespeare’s R&J.” Lots of Broadway work followed including “Sister Act,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” and most significantly, Samayoa says, “Come From Away,” a musical telling of the true story of airline passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. He played Kevin J. (one half of a gay couple) and Ali, a Muslim chef.  

He adds “Evita” has proved a powerful experience too: “We’re portraying a populist power couple that changed the trajectory of a country in a way most Americans can’t fully understand. And doing it in Washington surrounded by government and politics is extra exciting.” 

WASHINGTON BLADE: How do you tap into a real-life character like Perón?

CAESAR SAMAYOA: Fortunately, Sammi [Connald] and I work similarly. With real persons and situations, I immerse myself into history, almost to a ridiculous extent. 

First day in the rehearsal room, we were inundated with artifacts. Sammi has been to Argentina several times and interviewed heavily with people involved in Eva and Peron’s lives. Throughout the process we’d sit and talk about the real history that happened. We went down the rabbit hole.

Sammi’s interviews included time with Eva’s nurse who was at her bedside when she died. We watched videos of those interviews. They’ve been an integral part of our production. 

BLADE: Were you surprised by anything you learned?

SAMAYOA: Usually, Eva and Perón’s relationship is portrayed as purely transactional.  They wrote love letters and I had access to those. At their country home, they’d be in pajamas and walk on the beach; that part of their life was playful and informal. They were a political couple but they were deeply in love too. I latched on to that. 

BLADE: And anything about the man specifically? 

SAMAYOA:  Perón’s charisma was brought to the forefront. In shows I’ve done, some big names have attended. Obama. Clinton. Justin Trudeau came to “Come From Away.” Within seconds, the charisma makes you give into that person. I’ve tried to use that.  

BLADE: And the part? 

SAMAYOA: Perón is said to be underwritten. But I love his power and the songs he sings [“The Art of the Possible,” “She is a Diamond,” etc.]. I’m fully a baritone and to find that kind of role in a modern musical is nearly impossible. And in this rock opera, I can use it to the full extent and feel great about it.

BLADE: “Evita” is a co-production with A.R.T. Has it changed since premiering in Boston? 

SAMAYOA: Yes, it has. In fact, 48 hours before opening night in Washington, we made some changes and they’ve really landed. Without giving too much away, we gave it more gravity in reality of time as well as Eva’s sickness and the rapid deterioration. It’s given our second act a huge kind of engine that it didn’t have. 

BLADE: You’re married to talent agent Christopher Freer and you’re very open. Was it always that way for you?

SAMAYOA: When I started acting professionally, it was a very different industry. We were encouraged to stay in the closet or it will cast only in a certain part. There was truth in that. There still is some truth in that, but I refuse to go down that road. I can’t reach what I need to reach unless I’m my most honest self. I can’t do it any other way.

Continue Reading

Out & About

HRC’s National Dinner is back

LGBTQ rights organization’s annual gala features Rhimes, Waithe, Bomer



Actor Matt Bomer will be honored at the HRC National Dinner.

The Human Rights Campaign will host its annual National Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The dinner’s honorees include world-famous producers, actors and entertainers whose work spotlights the fight for civil rights and social justice, including Shonda Rhimes, Lena Waithe and Matt Bomer.

A new event, as part of the weekend, — the Equality Convention — will take place the night before the dinner on Friday, Oct. 13. The convention will showcase the power of the LGBTQ equality movement, feature influential political and cultural voices, and bring together volunteer and movement leaders from across the country to talk about the path ahead.
For more details about the weekend, visit HRC’s website.

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade