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Calendar through September 5

Gay Softball World Series, The Coolots & Manny Lehman hit D.C.

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Fallen Youth, art, sculpture, Janathel Shaw, Touchstone Gallery, gay news, Washington Blade
Fallen Youth, art, sculpture, Janathel Shaw, Touchstone Gallery, gay news, Washington Blade

Fallen Youth,’ a sculpture by Janathel Shaw, is on display at Touchstone Gallery. (Image courtesy Touchstone)

Friday, August 30

Aqua Bar and Lounge (1818 New York Ave., N.E.) hosts “Club Fuego,” a Latino gay dance party, tonight from 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Admission is $10 and limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit aquadc.com.

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.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts “Grand Slam with DJ Manny Lehman,” the finale to the Gay Softball World Series, tonight at 10 p.m. The World Series is the largest LGBT sporting event in the country, welcoming more than 170 teams to D.C. this year. Cover is $8 from 10-11 and $12 after 11. For details, visit towndc.com.

The Coolots, a local all-female rock and soul band, perform tonight at Phase 1 of Dupont (1415 22nd St., N.W.). Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10 and limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit phase1dc.com.

The Club (5268 Williamsport Pike, Martinsburg, W.Va.) hosts a patio “Foam Party” tonight. Doors open at 6 p.m. Cover is $5 and unlimited bottomless rail drinks are $20. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit theclubwv.com.

Saturday, August 31

Phase 1 of Dupont (1415 22nd St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Booty Beach Ladies Dance Party” this evening. 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.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its new “Saturday Brunch” at 11 a.m. Guests can enjoy one free mimosa with their meal. For more details, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Adventuring, a gay outdoors group, hosts a Great North Mountain hike near the Virginia-West Virginia border today. Participants meet at 8:30 a.m. at the East Falls Church Metro Station (2001 N. Sycamore St., Arlington, Va.), and should bring bug spray, lunch, water, sunscreen, sturdy boots and $20 for trip fees. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Sunday, September 1

Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St., N.W.) hosts “Sparkle,” its monthly LGBT poetry open mic night, from 8-10 p.m. this evening. Admission is $5. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit busboysandpoets.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.) tonight from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. For details, visit clubmuse.com.

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.

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 Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) hosts karaoke tonight from 9 p.m.-midnight. There will also be pool, video gaming systems and card games. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and admission is $3 after 9. For more information, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Monday, September 2

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.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors group, host a Wilson Bridge hike today. The group meets at the King Street Metro Station (1900 King St., Alexandria, Va.) at 11 a.m., and then walks through Old Town Alexandria across the Wilson Bridge to the National Harbor in Maryland. Participants should bring $2 as a trip fee, $8 for a water taxi back to Alexandria, lunch and plenty of water. For more details, visit adventuring.org.

Tuesday, September 3

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.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts karaoke tonight at 9 p.m. For details, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Wednesday, September 4

Midtown (1219 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) hosts “Mix It Up 2.0,” an LGBT dance party, from 8:30-midnight. All groups of six entering together get a free bottle of champagne. For details, visit midtown-dc.com.

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

The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club will be meeting at 7:30 p.m., at the Dignity Center 721 8th St., S.E. (across from Marine Barracks) for social bridge.  No partner needed. Call 301-345-1571 for more information.

Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) hosts “Bare!,” a storytelling show of true stories of sex, love and desire, from 8-10 p.m. tonight. The show is based in New York and also has monthly performances in Boston. Admission is $8 and limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit blackfoxlounge.com.

Thursday, September 5

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.

The D.C. Health Link and the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs host an LGBT Leadership Summit at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St., N.W.) today from 6:30-7:30 p.m. LGBT community leaders and business owners will meet with health care experts to learn how to find the best and most affordable health insurance. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., N.W.) hosts a preview from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today of its new exhibit “ReBirth” by Janathel Shaw. The exhibition features clay sculptures that address racism and sexism through Buddhist influences of rebirth. For more information, visit touchstonegallery.com.

The Gay Softball World Series holds its championship games today from 7:50 a.m.-4 p.m. at Fairland Regional Park (3928 Greencastle Rd., Burtonsville, Md.), and from 7:50 a.m.-2 p.m. at Watkins Regional Park (301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro, Md.). There will then be a closing street party and awards ceremony in the Renaissance Hotel courtyard from 5-9 p.m. with food, entertainment and drink specials. For more information, visit dcseries2013.com.

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Books

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

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‘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.

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Theater

An exciting revival of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre

Out actor Caesar Samayoa on portraying iconic role of President Perón

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

‘Evita’
Through Oct. 15
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Harman Hall
610 F St., N.W.
$35–$134
Shakespearetheatre.org

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.

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Out & About

HRC’s National Dinner is back

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

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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.

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