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Calendar through August 29

DJ Escape, drag cabaret, LGBT hip-hop and a Rehoboth 5k on tap this week

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DJ Escape, music, entertainment, gay news, Washington Blade
DJ Escape, music, entertainment, gay news, Washington Blade

DJ Escape is at Town tonight (Friday). (Photo courtesy DJ Escape)

Friday, August 23

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. There is no cover charge and admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit towndc.com.

Remington’s Nightclub (639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) hosts “The A-List Show” tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. The drag show, featuring Ladi Lenore and The Empire, starts at 11:30. Admission is $10.

Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) hosts a reception to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington tonight from 6-10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For more information, visit uhupil.org.

DJ Escape, a New York-based deejay who has spun at some of the world’s largest nightclubs and made remixes for stars like Beyoncé and Gwen Stefani, spins tonight at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.). Doors open at 10 p.m. and the drag show starts at 10:30. Cover is $8 from 10-11, and $12 after 11. For details, visit towndc.com.

The Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) hosts “GAY/BASH,” an alternative LGBT dance party and drag show, tonight at 9:30 p.m. DJs Joshua Vogelsong and Dean Sullivan blend electro and bass pop with punk and rock and roll all night. The party features two drag performances, one at 11:30 and the other at 1 a.m. Admission is $10 and open to guests 18 and over. For details and to purchase tickets, visit blackcatdc.com.

Olivia & the Mates, fronted by lesbian singer-songwriter Olivia Mancini, perform tonight with Matthew Sweet at the Birchmere (3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $29.50. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit birchmere.com or oliviamancini.com.

Saturday, Aug. 24

Phase 1 of Dupont (1415 22nd St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Booty Beach Ladies Dance Party.” The winner of the party’s bikini and board shorts contest will receive cash and prizes. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $5. Visit phase1dc.com for more information.

Maryland Trans*Unity hosts a picnic and potluck for all transgender, genderqueer and gender non-conforming individuals from 2-6 p.m. at Open Door MCC (15817 Barnesville Rd., Boyds, Md.). For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Layla Lounge (501 Morse St., N.E.) hosts an “Elite Boyz” dance party tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over and is free before midnight and $10 afterward. For details, visit layladc.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts “Beats and the City,” a laser light show and dance party with DJs Eddie Elias and Luis Perez, from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Admission is $10 and open to guests 18 and over. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit cobaltdc.com.

Club Hippo (1 West Eager St., Baltimore, M.D.) hosts “Vogue,” a Madonna birthday tribute party, tonight from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. DJ Jason Royce spins Madonna classics all night, and $2 rail drinks and draft specials will be served. Cover is $8 and is free those with military or college IDs and those who share Madonna’s Zodiac sign. For more information, visit clubhippo.com.

The Latino Queer Bilingual Writing Group hosts a creative writing workshop at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) today from 12:30-2:30 p.m. The workshop is open to writers of all genres and levels of experience who wish to write in Spanish or English. Visit thedccenter.org for more information.

Sunday, Aug. 25

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly Sunday Drag Brunch today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

The Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) hosts karaoke tonight from 9 p.m.-midnight. Cover is $3, and there will also be pool, video gaming systems and cards. For more information, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Guil-Tea Dance Party” today from 3-8 p.m. DJ Shea Van Horn spins pop guilty pleasures all afternoon. Admission is free and limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

K&C Productions hosts its weekly “Sizzling Hot Sundays,” an LGBT hip-hop and house music dance party, at Club Muse (717 6th St., N.W.) from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. For details, visit clubmuse.com.

The Black Fox Lounge (1723) hosts “Tula’s Cabaret,” a classic lip-sync drag show, from 8-11 p.m. tonight. Admission is free. For more information, visit blackfoxlounge.com.

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts a “Celebration of Bayard Rustin’s Life” today from 2-5 p.m. The event includes a “Meeting for Worship” at 2, light refreshments at 3 and a screening of the biopic film, “Brother Outsider,” at 3:30. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Heart to Hand, a non-profit devoted to assisting people with HIV and AIDS, is having a benefit called Skate Away HIV Day today at the Temple Hills Skating Palace (3132 Branch Ave., Temple Hills, Md.) from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission is free and the first 500 who get tested at the event will get free skate rentals.

The fourth annual Sundance Land & Sea event is today at 8 a.m. (7:30 check-in) at the Rehoboth Bandstand in Rehoboth Beach, Del. Participants can do either a 5k run, half-mile swim, one-mile walk or biathlon. Participants are encouraged to pick up their packets on Saturday. The event is a benefit for CAMP Rehoboth. Visit seashorestriders.com for details.

Monday, Aug. 26

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Monday’s a Total Drag [Show]” party tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. An episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” screens at 9, and then a live drag show will be featured. Admission is 18 and up and is free. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

The Capital Area Rainbowlers Association (CARA) hosts a social tonight at the AMF Annandale Lanes (4245 Markham St., Annandale, Va.) from 8-10 p.m. All local LGBT groups are invited to attend. Bowling is $1 per game and shoe rental is $1. For more information, visit carabowling.org.

Tuesday, Aug. 27

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts a genderqueer discussion group from 7-8 p.m. tonight for people who identify outside of the gender binary. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its weekly FUK!T Packing Party tonight from 7-9 p.m. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

Wednesday, Aug. 28

The Dupont Drawing Group meets tonight at 7 p.m. at The Church of the Pilgrims (2201 P St., N.W.) to draw from a live model. The session is self-directed with no formal instruction and no materials are provided. Drawing spots and easels are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, so guests should arrive anytime after 6:45. No reservations are required, and a modest fee to pay the model will be collected. For more information, visit paulreuther.com.

Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) hosts a support group for black gay men living with HIV from 7-9 p.m. For more details, visit uhupil.org.

The Lambda Bridge Club meets at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. Reservations are not necessary and newcomers are welcome. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Aug. 29

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Chat it Up,” a support group for LGBT youth, from 5-7 p.m. tonight. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.). Doors open at 5 p.m. for happy hour until 9, and the club closes at 1 a.m. Admission is $5 all night and limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

Whitman-Walker Health provides free HIV testing at Miriam’s Kitchen (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) tonight from 4-6 p.m. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

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Photos

PHOTOS: International LGBTQ Leaders Conference opening reception

Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott

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Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBTQ Victory Institute held an opening reception for the 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference at the JW Marriott on Thursday.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Meet the husbands and creative partners behind ‘Christmas Angel’

A funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast

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Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner with pugs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron.

The Christmas Angel
Dec. 9-19
Creative Cauldron
410 South Maple Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046
Tickets:  $35. Students $20.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required
creativecauldron.org

“Ours is like a lava lamp,” says composer Matt Conner describing the collaborative creative process he shares with musical writing partner and husband Stephen Gregory Smith. “We move together in motion in a continual ebb and flow.” 

A couple for 23 years, married for eight, and making musicals together for 11, the talented pair’s current offering is “The Christmas Angel,” opening on Dec. 9 at Creative Cauldron in Fairfax. 

A musical adaptation of the same-named 1910 novel by Abbie Farwell Brown, it’s the story of Angelina Terry (Kanysha Williams), a wealthy embittered recluse who learns the lessons of Christmas from a box of old toys that she casts into the street. Also featured in the hour-long one-act are Ryan Sellers as Horton, Angelina’s butler, and Carl Williams who plays her brother. The angel and toys are brought to life by an ensemble of a dozen teens plucked from the company’s musical theater training program. 

Via phone from their home in Arlington, Smith and Conner shared thoughts on their new show and working style. In attendance are pug dogs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron, whom they call Eddie and Byron in public – otherwise “it’s just too much,” says Conner whose ultimate fantasy involves living on a pug farm where he’d write music and present the occasional show.

Rather than finish each other’s sentences, the duo (both Helen Hayes Award winners – Smith for acting and Conner for directing) expound on one another’s thoughts.

While Conner composes the music, Smith writes the book and lyrics, and together they co-direct. “But there’s no end and beginning where my job ends and his begins,” says Smith. “What we do complements each other’s work.”

Still, there are differences. Smith’s approach is focused. He writes pages at night and edits in the morning. Conner’s method is more relaxed, preferring to sit at the keyboard and talk rather than writing things down. But throughout the creative process, there’s never a moment when the project isn’t on their mind. They can be watching TV or buying milk when an exciting idea pops up, says Conner. 

A clever nod to Dickens, the novel is more than just a female “Christmas Carol,” says Smith. And in some spots, he’s beefed up the 55-page book, fleshing out both storyline and characters including the toys whose shabby appearance belies a youthful confidence. 

He adds, “Every holiday season you go to the attic and pull down the box, or boxes in my case, of holiday decorations and it’s all old but it’s new. That’s the nostalgic feeling of toys from the attic that we’re trying to find through the show.”

The music is a combination of traditional carols performed by a hand bell chorus, and original Christmas songs that intentionally sound very familiar. The score includes songs “Don’t Hide Your Light,” “The Sweetest Gift,” and “Yestermore” – the moment when the past, present, and future come together. 

Also, there’s Angelina’s Bah! Humbug! number “Fiddlesticks,” her great renunciation of the holidays. She believes the world a disappointing place to be, and the sooner realized the better. 

Conner and Smith aren’t new to Creative Cauldron. Through the company’s Bold New Works project, the team was commissioned to write five world premiere musicals in just five years. The result was “The Turn of the Screw,” “Monsters of the Villa Diodati,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Witch” and “On Air.”

Judging from some of the titles and their slightly macabre content, it seems the duo was better poised to write for Halloween than Christmas, but nonetheless, they were commissioned. Creative Cauldron’s producing director Laura Connors Hull brought them the obscure yet charming book that surprisingly had never before been reworked for stage or celluloid, and the pair got to work last spring. 

Conner and Smith agree, “The show is a lot of things rolled up into one.”

Not only is it a funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast, but it’s also a story largely unknown to today’s audiences. Additionally, the show boasts intergenerational appeal while holding messages about Christmas, family, and finding light when you’re in a darker place. 

More information about Conner and Smith, including links to their music and popular podcast “The Conner & Smith Show,” can be found on their terrific website at connersmithmusicals.com.   

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Books

‘Capote’s Women’ is catnip to older pop culture fans

Revisiting iconic author’s seven ‘swans’

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(Book cover courtesy of Putnam)

Capote’s Women
By Laurence Leamer
C.2021, Putnam $28/356 pages

Her lips are locked tight.

Your best friend knows all your secrets, and she’s keeping them; you told her things you had to tell somebody, and she’s telling nobody. You always knew you could trust her; if you couldn’t, she wouldn’t be your BFF. But as in the new book “Capote’s Women” by Laurence Leamer, what kind of a friend are you?

For months, Truman Capote had been promising a blockbuster.

Following his success with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood,” he was “one of the most famous authors in the world” but he needed a career-booster. The novel he was writing, he teased, would be about “his swans,” seven wealthy, fashionable women who quite personified “beauty, taste, and manners.”

His first swan was Barbara “Babe” Paley, whom he’d met on a trip with the David Selznicks to Jamaica. For Capote, “Babe was the epitome of class,” simply “perfect” in every way; it helped that the famously gay writer was no threat to Paley’s “madly jealous” husband.

Babe’s “dearest friend” was Nancy “Slim” Keith, who quickly learned that if a lady wanted her confidences kept, she didn’t tell Capote anything. She shouldn’t have trusted Babe, either: When Slim left for a European trip, Babe asked if Slim’s husband could accompany Babe’s friend, Pamela Hayward, to a play.

Slim was aware of Pamela’s predatory reputation, but what could she say?

Of course, Pamela, another of Truman’s swans, stole Slim’s man, a scandal that Capote loved.

Gloria Guinness was highly intelligent, possibly enough to be a spy in Nazi Germany. Lucy “C.Z.” Guest was an upper-crust “elitist” with a “magical aura.” Marella Agnelli “was born an Italian princess”; Lee Radziwill, of course, was Jacqueline Kennedy’s sister.

Through the late 1960s, Capote claimed to be writing his masterpiece, his tour de force based on his swans, but several deadlines passed for it. He was sure Answered Prayers “would turn him once again into the most talked-about author in America.”

Instead, when an excerpt from it was published, his swans got very ruffled feathers.

Every time you stand in line for groceries, the tabloids scream at you with so much drama that you either love it or hate it. Or, in the case of “Capote’s Women,” you cultivate it.

And that’s infinitely fun, as told by author Laurence Leamer.

Happily, though, Leamer doesn’t embellish or disrespect these women or Capote; he tells their tales in order, gently allowing readers’ heads to spin with the wild, globe-hopping goings-on but not to the point that it’s overdone. While most of this book is about these seven beautiful, wealthy, and serially married women – the Kardashians of their time, if you will – Capote is Leamer’s glue, and Truman gets his due, as well.

Readers who devour this book will be sure that the writer would’ve been very happy about that.

“Capote’s Women” should be like catnip to celeb-watchers of a Certain Age but even if you’re not, find it. If you’re a Hollywood fan, you’ll want to get a lock on it.

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