Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Calendar: Through March 14

Local D.C. events, parties, concerts, mixers and more through mid-March

Published

on

Mr. Imagination, Gregory Warmack, Glitterbomb, Off-Rhode Studio, gay news, Washington Blade
Mr. Imagination, Gregory Warmack, Glitterbomb, Off-Rhode Studio, gay news, Washington Blade

‘Mr. Imagination’ by Gregory Warmack, one of the pieces on display starting Saturday (through March 30) in the exhibit ‘Glitterbomb’ at Off-Rhode Studio. (Photo courtesy of Paul Yandura)

Friday, March 8

Special Agent Galactica returns with her happy hour show this evening at 6 p.m. at Black Fox Lounge (1732 Connecticut Ave., NW). The show includes live jazz, blues, cabaret, standards and comedy. Galactica is backed by a three-piece jazz combo. There is no cover charge. For more information, visit pinkhairedone.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elT5UIELpGA

Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) hosts “10 Hail Marys: A True Blue Madonna Tribute” tonight starting 10 p.m. The party celebrates her first 10 albums.  There is an open vodka bar from 10 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit greenlanterndc.com.

Saturday, March 9

Foursquare

On Foursquare? Add many of these events to your To-Do list, and connect with the Blade to always be in the know.

Our City Film Festival kicks off tonight with an opening night party at 9:30 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St., NE). This party is free. The festival continues tomorrow at noon with its first screening of “Oxygen for the Ears: Living Jazz.” This is the only film festival that showcases D.C.-focused films. Individual tickets are $12, and VIP tickets are $150. For more information, visit ourcityfilmfestival.com.

Off-Rhode Studio at Art Enables (2204 Rhode Island Ave., NE) opens the art exhibit “Glitterbomb” provided by art collector Paul Yandura this afternoon at 1 p.m. The show redefines the attitudes and uses of glitter in artwork with pieces from several different artists and mediums. For more information, visit art-enables.org.

Team D.C. hosts its annual Fashion Show and Model Search tonight at 7 p.m. at Town (2009 8th St., NW). The featured fashions range from club wear and swimsuits to underwear and leather from Universal Gear and Adam & Eve. Pussy Noir will be guest judge. Cover is $10. For more information, visit teamdcsports.com.

Community Life Newsletter celebrates eight years tonight with a night at the theaer to see “Ladies Swing the Blues” at Metro Stage (1201 North Royal St., Alexandria) at 8 p.m. The Community Life Newsletter’s goal has been to connect and educate the community. Tickets are $55. For more information, visit metrostage.org.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHp_-jVp3mY

Sunday, March 10

Lambda Sci-fi has its monthly meeting this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at 1425 S St. NW. Attendees are asked to bring a snack or a non-alcoholic beverage to the social. For more information, visit lambdascifi.org.

Bishop Gene Robinson gives a homily as part of a Lenten Series at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (3rd and A St., SE) this morning at 10 a.m. Robinson was consecrated as Bishop in 2003 by the Episcopal Diocese in New Hampshire, becoming the first openly gay bishop. His talk will start a discussion about the journey of St. Mark and about the global Anglican Church’s inclusion of the LGBT community. For more information, visit stmarks.net.

Monday, March 11

The D.C. Lambda Squares holds its dance series 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 everybody 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.

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its HIV+ Newly Diagnosed Support Group tonight at 7. It is a confidential support group for anyone recently diagnosed with HIV and the group welcomes all genders and sexual orientations. Registration is required and attendees must call 202-797-3580 or email [email protected]. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

Tuesday, March 12

D.C. Center kicks off its new Center Military program this evening at 5 p.m. at MOVA Lounge (2204 14th St., NW). The program is a new initiative to support LGBT service members, veterans and their families. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Whitman-Walker (1701 14th St., NW) holds its group Starting Over for Women tonight at 7. The group is for women whose long-term relationship with another woman. Registration is required and attendees must call 202-797-3580 or email [email protected]. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

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.

Pop singer Rihanna performs at 1st Mariner Arena (201 West Baltimore St.,) tonight. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $33-$123. For more information, visit baltimorearena.com.

Wednesday, March 13

The Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and dozens of other LGBT networking groups invite professionals to Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St., NW) this evening at 6:30 p.m. for its fifth annual Mega Networking event. There is no cover and registration is free. For more information or to register, visit caglcc.com.

The Big Gay Book Group discusses the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Angels in America: Part I Millennium Approaches” by Tony Kushner tonight at 7 p.m. at 1155 F St., NW, Suite 200. The epic weaves together historical and fictional characters spanning the Reagan-Bush years. For more information, visit biggaybookgroup.com.

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its HIV+ Newly Diagnosed Support Group tonight at 7. It is a confidential support group for anyone recently diagnosed with HIV and the group welcomes all genders and sexual orientations. Registration is required and attendees must call 202-797-3580 or email [email protected]. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets tonight at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., SE) at 7:30 p.m. for social bridge. Newcomers are welcome and no reservations are needed. For more information or if you need a partner, visit lambdabridge.com.

Thursday, March 14

P!NK comes to the Verizon Center (601 F St., NW) on her tour “The Truth About Love” tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50-$115. For more information, visit verizoncenter.com.

Special Agent Galactica celebrates the coming weekend at her show at Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., NW) tonight at 8 p.m. Her show brings a variety of music genres and comedy. There is no cover for this event. For more information, visit pinkharedone.com.

Whitman-Walker Health (1701 14th St., NW) holds its gay men over 50 support group this evening at 6:30 p.m. The group is for gay men entering a new phase of life. Registration is required to attend. Registration is required and attendees must call 202-797-3580 or email [email protected]. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Photos

PHOTOS: Superstar Drag Revue

Bombalicious Eklaver leads the show at Selina Rooftop

Published

on

Superstar Drag Review (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Bombalicious Eklaver held a Superstar Drag Revue at the Selina Hotel Rooftop on Friday, Nov. 25. DJ Juba provided the music.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

Continue Reading

Books

Memoir reveals gay writer’s struggle with homelessness, rape

‘Place Called Home’ a powerful indictment of foster care system

Published

on

(Book cover image courtesy Legacy Lit/Hachette)

A Place Called Home: A Memoir
By David Ambroz
c. 2022, Legacy Lit/Hachette
$30/384 pages

For David Ambroz, 42, author of the stunning new memoir “A Place Called Home,” one of his childhood recollections is of himself and his siblings walking with Mary, their mother, on a freezing Christmas morning in New York City.

Today, Ambroz, who is gay and a foster parent, is a poverty and child welfare expert and the head of Community Engagement (West) for Amazon.

But, on that morning, Ambroz remembers, when he was five, he and his seven-year-old sister Jessica and six-year-old brother Alex were freezing. Mary, their mother was severely mentally ill. They were homeless.

Ambroz draws you into his searing memoir with his first sentence. “I’m hungry,” he writes in the simple, frightened, perceptive voice of a malnourished, shivering little boy.

As it got dark and colder, Ambroz recalls, he walked with his family, wearing “clownishly large” sneakers “plucked from the trash.” 

Five-year-old Ambroz remembers that the night before his family got lucky. They had dinner (mac and cheese) at a church “with a sermon on the side.”  

“We heard the story of the three kings bringing gifts to the baby Jesus,” Ambroz writes.

But the next day they’re still homeless and hungry. Talk about no room at the inn.

Young Ambroz doesn’t know the word “death,” but he (literally) worries that he and his family will die. Frozen, hungry and invisible to uncaring passersby.

Ambroz’s mom, a nurse, is occasionally employed and able to house her family in dilapidated apartments. But she’s soon ensnared by her mental illness, unable to work. Then, her family is homeless again.

Until, he was 12, Ambroz and his siblings were abused and neglected by their mother.

Ambroz doesn’t know as a young boy that he’s gay. But, he can tell he’s different. Instead of playing street games with the other kids, Ambroz likes to play “doctor” with another boy in the neighborhood.

Mary tells him being gay is sinful and that you’ll die from AIDS if you’re queer.

His mother, having decided that he’s Jewish, makes Ambroz undergo a badly botched circumcision. At one point, she beats him so badly that he falls down a flight of stairs.

At 12, Ambroz reports this abuse to the authorities and he’s placed into the foster care system.

If you think this country’s foster care system is a safe haven for our nation’s 450,000 kids in foster care, Ambroz will swiftly cut through that misperception.

From ages 12 to 17, Ambroz is ricocheted through a series of abusive, homophobic foster placements.

One set of foster parents try to make him more “macho,” rent him out to work for free for their friends and withhold food from him. At another placement, a counselor watches and does nothing as other kids beat him while hurling gay slurs.

Thankfully, Ambroz meets Holly and Steve who become fabulous foster parents. Ambroz has been abused and hungry for so long he finds it hard to understand that he can eat whatever he wants at their home.

Through grit, hard work and his intelligence, Ambroz earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, was an intern at the White House and graduated from the UCLA School of Law. Before obtaining his position at Amazon, he led Corporate Social Responsibility for Walt Disney Television.

But none of this came easily for him. Coming out was hard for many LGBTQ people in the 1990s. It was particularly difficult for Ambroz.

In college, Ambroz is deeply closeted. He’s ashamed to reveal anything about his past (growing up homeless and in foster care) and his sexuality. 

At one point, he’s watching TV, along with other appalled students, as the news comes on about Matthew Shepard being murdered because he was gay. Ambroz can see that everyone is enraged and terrified by this hate crime. Yet, he’s too ashamed to reveal anything of his sexuality.

Over Christmas vacation, Ambroz decides it’s time to explore his sexuality.

Telling no one, Ambroz takes a train to Miami. There, he goes home with a man (who he meets on a bus) who rapes him.

“I run in no particular direction just away from this monster,” he recalls. “When I get back to my hotel room, I’m bleeding…I order food delivered but can’t eat any of it.”

“A Place Called Home” has the power of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.”

Ambroz’s writing becomes less powerful when he delves into the weeds of policy. But this is a minor quibble.

Ambroz is a superb storyteller. Unless you lack a heartbeat, you can’t read “A Place Called Home” without wanting to do something to change our foster care system. 

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

Continue Reading

Books

New book explores impact of family secrets

Her father was hiding his sexual orientation

Published

on

(Book cover image courtesy HarperOne)

The Family Outing: A Memoir
By Jessi Hempel
c. 2022, HarperOne
$27.99/320 pages

Don’t tell the children.

For most families in America in the last century, that was the maxim to live by: the kids are on a need-to-know basis and since they’re kids, they don’t need to know. And so what did you miss? Did you know about familial philanthropy, rebellion, embarrassment, poverty? As in the new memoir, “The Family Outing” by Jessi Hempel, did secrets between parent and child run both ways?

“What happened to me?”

That’s the big question Jessi Hampel had after many therapy sessions to rid herself of a recurring nightmare. She had plenty of good memories. Her recollection of growing up in a secure family with two siblings was sharp, wasn’t it?

She thought so – until she started what she called “The Project.”

With permission from her parents and siblings, Hempel set up Skype and Zoom sessions and did one-on-one interviews with her family, to try to understand why her parents divorced, why her brother kept mostly to himself, how the family dynamics went awry, why her sister kept her distance, and how secrets messed everything up.

Hempel’s father had an inkling as a young man that he was gay, but his own father counseled him to hide it. When he met the woman who would eventually be his wife, he was delighted to become a husband and father, as long as he could sustain it.

Years before, Hempel’s mother was your typical 1960s teenager with a job at a local store, a crush on a slightly older co-worker and, coincidentally, a serial killer loose near her Michigan neighborhood. Just after the killer was caught, she realized that the co-worker she’d innocently flirted with might’ve been the killer’s accomplice.

For nearly the rest of her life, she watched her back.

One secret, one we-don’t-discuss-it, and a young-adult Hempel was holding something close herself. What else didn’t she know? Why did she and her siblings feel the need for distance? She was trying to figure things out when the family imploded.

Ever had a dream that won’t stop visiting every night? That’s where author Jessi Hempel starts this memoir, and it’s the perfect launching point for “The Family Outing.”

Just prepare yourself. The next step has Hempel telling her mother’s tale for which, at the risk of being a spoiler, you’ll want to leave the lights on. This account will leave readers good and well hooked, and ready for the rest of what turns out to be quite a detective story.

And yet, it’s a ways away from the Sherlockian. Readers know what’s ahead, we know the score before we get there, but the entwining of five separate lives in a fact-finding mission makes this book feel as though it has a surprise at every turn.

Sometimes, it’s a good surprise. Sometimes, it’s a bad one.

A happily minimized amount of profanity and a total lack of overtness make “The Family Outing” a book you can share with almost anyone, adult, or ally. Read it, and you’ll be wanting to tell everyone.

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular