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Calendar through September 19

Mixtape celebrates 5 years, Street Corner Symphony plays and more this week

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17th Street Festival, gay news, Washington Blade
17th Street Festival, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s 17th Street Festival in the heart of D.C.’s gayborhood. This year’s event is slated for Saturday on this week’s D.C. LGBT events calendar. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. LGBT Events Calendar: Friday, September 13

Skyline Indie Film Festival (Winchester, Va.,) screens “Tennessee Queer,” a quirky comedy about a man’s struggle to change his small town, tonight from 8:15-11 p.m. Tickets are $12.50. For more information, visit skylineindiefilmfest.org.

The Howard Theatre (620 T St., N.W.) hosts “MIXTAPE: 5 Year Anniversary Party” tonight at 10:30 p.m. DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer play a mixture of electro, alt-pop, indie rock, house, disco and more. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit thehowardtheatre.com.

MIXTAPE Sampler #84 from MIXTAPEdc on 8tracks Radio.

Special Agent Galactica performs with The Hummingbirds for its Happy Hour Show at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) this evening from 6-9 p.m. No cover. For details, visit pinkhairedone.com.

Saturday, Sept. 14

Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets hosts its fourth annual 17th Street Festival (17th St., N.W.) today from noon-6 p.m. The festival includes the best of Dupont Circle’s entertainment, art, food, shopping and more. For more information, visit 17thstreetfestival.org.

Team D.C. hosts “United Night Out” at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (2400 East Capitol St., S.E.) at 4 p.m. today. Enjoy the Pregame Tailgate Party hosted by the Federal Triangles Soccer Club with burgers, hot dogs and bring your own sides. After, watch the D.C. United vs. L.A. Galaxy game. Tickets are $30. For details, visit unitednightout.com.

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.

Street Corner Symphony, contemporary acapella group and runner-ups on “The Sing-Off,” perform at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E Vienna, Va.) tonight at 7 and 9 p.m. General admission tickets are $18 and VIP tickets are $20. For details, visit jamminjava.com.

Sunday, Sept. 15

U Street Music Hall (1115 U St., N.W.) hosts Baby Loves Disco, a family friendly dance party, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. today. Bring the kids for dancing, face painting and temporary tattoos. Cash bar with snacks and juice boxes. Tickets $15 per person or four tickets for $55. For more information, visit babylovesdisco.com.

The President Woodrow Wilson House holds its 28th annual Kalorama House and Embassy Tour from noon- 5 p.m. today. Tour the historic buildings in the Kalorama neighborhood including the Ambassador of Austria’s residence and the Andrew Mellon Building. A pre-tour brunch is at the Mansion on O Street (2020 O St., N.W.). Tour tickets are $35 in advance and brunch and tour tickets are $75 in advance. For more information, visit woodrowwilsonhouse.org/events.

The OASIS Dance Company presents its third annual benefit gala “The Resurrection of Fashion” at the THEARC Theater (1901 Mississippi Ave., S.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The gala benefits LGBT youth and includes a runway and award show. Cocktail reception begins at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $20 and VIP tickets are $50. For more details, visit oasisdanceco.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 more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

Monday, Sept. 16

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.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.)  hosts its free and confidential HIV testing drop-in hours from 3-5 p.m. today. For more details, visit smyal.org.

Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) hosts a discussion group for black gay men tonight from 7-9 p.m. Discuss topics and share opinions on topics that matter to the community. For information, visit uhupil.org.

Men’s Circle for gay/bi/trans/questioning men holds its discussion group tonight from 7-9:30 p.m. at 914 N. St., N.W. It’s free. For details, email [email protected].

Tuesday, Sept. 17

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers to pack safer sex kits at The Green Lantern (1335 Green Court N.W.) from 7-10:30 p.m. tonight. For more information visit burgundycrescent.org.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts its weekly Rap Group today from 5-6:30 p.m. Come talk about the stress of school, jobs, family, friends and anything else in the support group. For more details, visit smyal.org.

Wednesday, Sept. 18

Anne Arundel Community College (101 College Pkwy., Arnold, Md.) hosts its fall film series “LGBT Themes and Issues” today at 11 a.m.  in the Careers Center Building Room 344. Today’s film screening is “Fagbug,” the journey of a woman who leads a nationwide gay rights campaign after being vandalized with anti-gay hate speech. The film series continues through Nov. 18. For more information, visit aacc.edu/women.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) hosts its “Out on the Hill Leadership Summit” today through Sept. 22. Join hundreds of the nation’s black LGBT activists, leaders, elected officials and more to participate in social action for advancement in LGBT equality. Registration begins at 8 a.m. today. For more details, visit nbjc.org.

Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, meets tonight at the American Foreign Service Association (2101 E St., N.W.) at 7:30 p.m. The discussion is on selections from “Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets.” For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.

The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets tonight at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) at 7:30 p.m. for social bridge. No partner needed. For more information, call 301-345-1571.

The Latino GLBT History Project has a community celebration this evening from 6:30-8 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th Street, N.W.) as it celebrates the opening of a month-long photo exhibit on Latino/a LGBT heroes. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the community. Details at latinoglbthistory.org.

Thursday, Sept. 19

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Ripped-Hot Body Contest” tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m.  Win up to $200 in prizes. $2 rail drinks from 9-11 p.m. Admission is 18 and up and is free.

Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.). Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts its monthly Poly Discussion Group at 7 p.m. this evening. People of all ages are invited to discuss polyamory and other consensual non-monogamous relationships. This event is for new comers, established polyamorous relationships and open to all sexual orientations. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today through Sept. 22 for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance at the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel (8777 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md.) For more information visit burgundycrescent.org or sexualfreedomsummit.org.

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Photos

PHOTOS: DCGFFL 25th Anniversary Party

Gay flag football league marks milestone at Penn Social

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The D.C. Gay Flag Football league held a party celebrating their 25th season at Penn Social on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) held a 25th season anniversary party at Penn Social on Saturday, Sept. 23. Proceeds from the event benefited the LGBTQ youth services organization SMYAL as well as the D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Books

New book goes behind the scenes of ‘A League of Their Own’

‘No Crying in Baseball’ offers tears, laughs, and more

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(Book cover image courtesy of Hachette Books)

‘No Crying in Baseball: The Inside Story of ‘A League of Their Own’
By Erin Carlson
c.2023, Hachette Books
$29/320 pages

You don’t usually think of Madonna as complaining of being “dirty all day” from playing baseball. But that’s what the legendary diva did during the shooting of “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 movie, beloved by queers.

“No Crying in Baseball,” the fascinating story behind “A League of Their Own,” has arrived in time for the World Series. Nothing could be more welcome after Amazon has cancelled season 2 of its reboot (with the same name) of this classic film.

In this era, people don’t agree on much. Yet, “A League of Their Own” is loved by everyone from eight-year-old kids to 80-year-old grandparents.

The movie has strikes, home runs and outs for sports fans; period ambience for history buffs; and tears, laughs and a washed-up, drunk, but lovable coach for dramady fans.

The same is true for “No Crying in Baseball.” This “making of” story will appeal to history, sports and Hollywood aficionados. Like “All About Eve” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “A League of Their Own” is Holy queer Writ.

Carlson, a culture and entertainment journalist who lives in San Francisco, is skilled at distilling Hollywood history into an informative, compelling narrative. As with her previous books, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy” and “Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep,” “No Crying in Baseball,” isn’t too “educational.” It’s filled with gossip to enliven coffee dates and cocktail parties.

“A League of Their Own” is based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). From 1943 to 1954, more than 600 women played in the league in the Midwest. The league’s players were all white because the racism of the time prohibited Black women from playing. In the film, the characters are fictional. But the team the main characters play for – the Rockford Peaches – was real.

While many male Major and Minor League Baseball players were fighting in World War II, chewing gum magnate Philip K. Wrigley, who owned the Chicago Cubs, founded the league. He started the AAGPBL, “To keep spectators in the bleachers,” Carlson reports, “and a storied American sport–more important: his business afloat.” 

In 1943, the Office of War Information warned that the baseball season could be “scrapped” “due to a lack of men,” Carlson adds.

“A League of Their Own” was an ensemble of women’s performances (including Rosie O’Donnell as Doris, Megan Cavanagh as Marla, Madonna as Mae, Lori Petty as Kit and Geena Davis as Dottie) that would become legendary.

Girls and women  still dress up as Rockford Peaches on Halloween.

Tom Hanks’s indelible portrayal of coach Jimmy Dugan, Gary Marshall’s depiction of (fictional) league owner Walter Harvey and Jon Lovitz’s portrayal of Ernie have also become part of film history.

Filming “A League of Their Own,” Carlson vividly makes clear, was a gargantuan effort.  There were “actresses who can’t play baseball” and “baseball players who can’t act,” Penny Marshall said.

The stadium in Evansville, Ind., was rebuilt to look like it was in the 1940s “when the players and extras were in costume,” Carlson writes, “it was easy to lose track of what year it was.”

“No Crying in Baseball” isn’t written for a queer audience. But, Carlson doesn’t pull any punches. 

Many of the real-life AAGPBL players who O’Donnell met had same-sex partners, O’Donnell told Carlson.

“When Penny, angling for a broad box-office hit chose to ignore the AAGPGL’s queer history,” Carlson writes, “she perpetuated a cycle of silence that muzzled athletes and actresses alike from coming out on the wider stage.”

“It was, as they say, a different time,” she adds.

Fortunately, Carlson’s book isn’t preachy. Marshall nicknames O’Donnell and Madonna (who become buddies) “Ro” and “Mo.” Kodak is so grateful for the one million feet of film that Marshall shot that it brings in a high school marching band. Along with a lobster lunch. One day, an assistant director “streaked the set to lighten the mood,” Carlson writes.

“No Crying in Baseball,” is slow-going at first. Marshall, who died in 2018, became famous as Laverne in “Laverne & Shirley.” It’s interesting to read about her. But Carlson devotes so much time to Marshall’s bio that you wonder when she’ll get to “A League of Their Own.”

Thankfully, after a couple of innings, the intriguing story of one of the best movies ever is told.

You’ll turn the pages of “No Crying in Baseball” even if you don’t know a center fielder from a short stop.

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Theater

Rupert Murdoch’s powers on full display in ‘Ink’

Media baron helped pave the way for Brexit, Prime Minister Thatcher

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Cody Nickell (Larry Lamb) and Andrew Rein (Rupert Murdoch) in ‘Ink’ at Round House Theatre. (Photo by Margot Schulman Photography)

‘Ink’
Through Sept. 24
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
$46-$94
Roundhousetheatre.org

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s loathsome traits are many, but his skills to succeed are undeniably numerous. 

In the first scenes of John Graham’s West End and Broadway hit drama “Ink,” an exciting year-long detail from the life of a burgeoning media baron, Murdoch’s powers of persuasion are on full display.

It’s 1969 London. Over dinner with editor Larry Lamb, a young Murdoch shares his plan to buy the Sun and rebrand the dying broadsheet, replacing the Daily Mirror as Britain’s best-selling tabloid. What’s more, he wants to do it in just one year with Lamb at the helm. 

Initially reluctant, Lamb becomes seduced by the idea of running a paper, something that’s always eluded him throughout his career, and something Murdoch, the outsider Australian, understands. Murdoch taunts him, “Not you. Not Larry Lamb, the Yorkshire-born son of a blacksmith, not the guy who didn’t get a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, who didn’t get a degree from anywhere. Not you.”

Still, Lamb, played convincingly by Cody Nickell in Round House Theatre’s stellar season-opener, a co-production with Olney Theatre Center, remains unsure. But Murdoch (a delightfully brash Andrew Rein) is undeterred, and seals the deal with a generous salary. 

Superbly staged by director Jason Loweth, “Ink” is riveting. Its exchanges between Lamb and Murdoch are a strikingly intimate glimpse into ambition involving an ostensibly average editor and a striving money man who doesn’t like people.  

Once on board, Lamb is trolling Fleet Street in search of his launch team, played marvelously by some mostly familiar actors. He makes his most important hire — news editor Brian McConnell (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh) — in a steam bath. The remainder of the Sun’s new masthead falls handily into place: Joyce Hopkirk (Kate Eastwood Norris) the women’s page editor whose forward thinking is marred by her casual racism; Zion Jang plays Beverley Goodway, an awkwardly amusing young photographer; persnickety deputy editor Bernard Shrimsley (Michael Glenn) who learns to love ugly things; and an old school sports editor who proves surprisingly versatile, played by Ryan Rillette, Round House’s artistic director. 

At Lamb’s suggestion, the team brainstorms about what interests Sun readers. They decide on celebrities, pets, sports, free stuff, and —rather revolutionarily for the time —TV.  Murdoch is happy to let readers’ taste dictate content and the “Why” of the sacred “five Ws” of journalism is out the window. 

Murdoch is portrayed as a not wholly unlikable misanthrope. He dislikes his editors and pressman alike. He particularly hates unions. His advice to Lamb is not to get too chummy with his subordinates. Regarding the competition, Murdoch doesn’t just want to outperform them, he wants to grind them to dust. 

Loewith leads an inspired design team. Scenic designer Tony Cisek’s imposing, inky grey edifice made from modular walls is ideally suited for Mike Tutaj’s projections of headlines, printed pages, and Rein’s outsized face as Murdoch. Sound designer and composer Matthew M. Nielson ably supplies bar noises and the nonstop, pre-digital newspaper clatter of presses, linotypes, and typewriters.

From a convenient second tiered balcony, the Daily Mirror’s establishment power trio Hugh Cudlipp (Craig Wallace), Chris Lee Howard (Chris Geneback) and Sir Percy (Walter Riddle) overlook all that lies below, discussing new tactics and (mostly failed) strategies to remain on top.   

Increasingly comfortable in the role of ruthless, sleazy editor, Lamb is unstoppable.

Obsessed with overtaking the Daily Mirror’s circulation, he opts for some sketchy reportage surrounding the kidnapping and presumed murder of Muriel McKay, the wife of Murdoch’s deputy Sir Alick (Todd Scofield). The kidnappers mistook Muriel for Murdoch’s then-wife Anna (Sophia Early). Next, in a move beyond the pale, Lamb introduces “Page 3,” a feature spotlighting a topless female model. Awesta Zarif plays Stephanie, a smart young model. She asks Lamb if he would run a semi-nude pic of his similarly aged daughter? His reaction is uncomfortable but undaunted. 

For Murdoch’s purposes, history proves he chose well in Lamb. By year’s end, the Sun is Britain’s most widely read tabloid. Together they give the people what they didn’t know they wanted, proving the pro-Labour Daily Mirror’s hold on the working class is baseless and paving the way for things like Brexit and a Prime Minister Thatcher. 

“Ink” at Round House closes soon. See it if you can.

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