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Arts & Entertainment

Calendar: Events through Oct. 24

Parties, exhibits, concerts and more for the coming week

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Emeli Sandé, gay news, Washington Blade
Emeli Sandé, gay news, Washington Blade

This year’s Capitol Pride musical performer Emeli Sandé performs at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Saturday. (Blade file photo by Tyler Grigsby)

Friday, Oct. 18

DJ Joe Gauthreaux spins at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight. Free rail vodka drinks from 11 p.m.-midnight. Cover is $10. Admission is 21 and up. For more information, visit cobaltdc.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 more information, visit towndc.com.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) holds a happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight with all drinks half price. Hip music begins at 11 p.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Saturday, Oct. 19

British singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé performs at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore) tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $29.60-$40. For details, visit bsomusic.org.

The Birchmere presents 2CELLOS, a cellist duo, at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University (730 21st St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55. For more details, visit lisner.gwu.edu or call 202-994-6800.

The Bethesda Row Arts Festival runs today in downtown Bethesda (4841 Bethesda Ave., Md.) from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Enjoy work from artists and crafters, listen to local music performances and participate in kid-friendly activities. The festival benefits NIH Children’s Charities. Admission is free. For details, visit bethesdarowarts.org.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation at the Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va.) at 11:45 a.m. today. You will be paired with a dog on a leash to walk around and play with. Wear casual clothes. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance (AGLA) hosts its monthly brunch event at Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant (555 S. 23rd St., Arlington, Va.) today from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The brunch is an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffer with made to order omelets and Belgian waffles with coffee, soda or juice. Cost is $9.95. Fore details, visit agla.org.

The Hamilton (600 14th Street, N.W.) hosts a free screening of the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” tonight at 10 p.m. Doors open at 9. Go here for details.

Sunday, Oct. 20

Organist Ken Cowan performs at First Baptist Church of Washington (1328 16th St., N.W.) today at 4 p.m. Admission is free but contributions accepted. For more details, visit firstbaptistdc.org.

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.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors group, hosts its “Great Falls Difficult Run” hike through Great Falls Park (9200 Old Dominion Dr., Mclean, Va.) at 9:15 a.m. today. Alternately you can meet at the Tenleytown Metro (4530 40th St., N.W.) at 8:30 a.m. to carpool. The hike is 5.1 miles with an elevation gain of 250 feet. The walk has a view of the Falls from the Virginia side as well as the Potomac as it rushes through Mather Gorge below the Falls. The Difficult Run Trail has sustained flood damage and is steep and narrow. Bring water, snacks and bug spray. Cost is $2 for trip fee, $4 for the park entrance and $2 to reimburse the driver if you are carpooling from Tenleytown. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts the final day of its silent shoe auction today. Come make your final bids on sneakers decorated by the community toe benefit the AIDS Walk. For details, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Special Agent Galactica is at L’Enfant Cafe (2000 18th St. N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. with Peter Fields. Details at pinkhairedone.com.

Monday, Oct. 21

Rainbow History Project presents “Prejudice and Pride,” a panel discussion about discrimination against African Americans in the D.C. LGBT community in the 1970s and 1980s, at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th St., N.W.) today at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit rainbowhistory.org.

Us Helping Us  (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

Tuesday, Oct. 22

Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion group at The D.C. Center (13181 U St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is for anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary as bigender, agender, genderfluid or any label outside of cisgender. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Whitman-Walker holds free HIV testing at Panam Supermarket (3552 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts a “Rap Group” today from 5-6:30 p.m. Discuss stressful issues like school, bullying, getting into college or finding a job in this support group. For more details, visit smyal.org.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore will read from her memoir “The End of San Francisco” this evening at Busboys and Poets (1025 5th Street, N.W.) at 6:30 p.m. in the Cullen Room. More information at mattildabernsteinsycamore.com.

Wednesday, Oct. 23

The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

The D.C. Center and Pros in the City host “Forty Plus Gay Men Speed Dating” at Finn and Porter D.C. (900 10th St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. tonight. Speed dating will last approximately one hour. After enjoy a mixer with fellow speed daters. There will be a cash bar. Check-in is at 7 and dating begins at 7:20. You will be able to contact anyone you meet through an exclusive online messaging system 48 hours after the event. Tickets are $30. Three hour complimentary parking offered to guests who purchase two drinks or other items from the bar or restaurant. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit prosinthecity.com.

The HIV Working Group holds a meeting at The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. The HIV Working Group is a volunteer-driven HIV/AIDS outreach, education, and advocacy initiative of the Center. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Oct. 24

Washington Blade hosts its “2013 Best of Gay D.C. Party” at The Huxley (1730 M St., N.W.) tonight from 6-9 p.m. Winners of the “Best of Gay D.C.” will be announced. You can also win a pair of tickets to see Cher. For details, visit facebook.com/washingtonblade/events.

Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) holds a meeting at The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. GLOV works to reduce violence against LGBT individuals through community outreach, education and assisting members of anti-LGBT violence. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

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 details, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

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Out & About

Studio House, Visual AIDS partner for educational program

Day With(out) Art 2021 to be held at Lamont Plaza

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One Tent Health, gay news, Washington Blade
World AIDS Day is next week.

Studio House and Visual AIDS will join forces for “Day With(out) Art 2021” on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. at Lamont Plaza. 

This event is a community outdoor screening of “Enduring Care,” a video program that highlights strategies of community care within the ongoing HIV epidemic followed by a discussion about the video.

There will be an open house in the neighborhood at the David Bethuel Jamieson (1963-1992) Studio House and Archives featuring newly commissioned work by Katherine Cheairs, Cristóbal Guerra, Danny Kilbride, Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad and Uriah Bussey, Beto Pérez, Steed Taylor, and J Triangular and the Women’s Video Support Project.

For more information, visit Eventbrite

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Movies

‘Tick, tick… BOOM!’ explodes with the love of Broadway

A perfect film for fans of musical theater

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Andrew Garfield shines in ‘Tick, Tick… BOOM!’ (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

If you are a person who love musical theater – or if you know someone who does – then you know there is something about this particular art form that inspires a strong and driving passion in those who enjoy it, often to the point of obsession. For this reason, perhaps it’s no surprise that those who work in musical theater – the creators, performers, and all the other people who make it happen – are often the biggest musical theater lovers of all.

Because of this, “tick, tick… BOOM!” (the new film directed by Lin-Manuel “Hamilton” Miranda and written by Steven “Dear Evan Hansen” Levenson) might be the most perfect movie ever made for such fans. Adapted from an autobiographical “rock monologue” by Jonathan Larson, it follows the future “Rent” composer (Andrew Garfield) for a week in the early 1990s, when he was still an unknown young Broadway hopeful waiting tables in a New York diner. He’s on the cusp of turning 30, a milestone that weighs on his mind as he prepares for a showcase of a musical that he hasn’t quite finished – even though he’s been writing it for eight years. With limited time left to compose the show’s most crucial number, his race against the clock is complicated by major changes in his personal life; his lifelong best friend Michael (Robin de Jesús) has quit acting in favor of a five-figure career in advertising, and his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp) is moving away from the city to accept a teaching job and wants him to come with her. With reminders everywhere of the ongoing AIDS epidemic still raging in the community around him, and with his own youth ticking away, he is inevitably forced to wonder if it’s time to trade in his own Broadway dreams for a more secure future – before it’s too late.

As every musical theater fan knows, the young composer’s obsession with time (hence the title) is laced with bittersweet irony in the context of what eventually happened in his real life: the day before “Rent” opened on Broadway and became a smash hit that reshaped and expanded the boundaries of what musical theater could be, Larson died of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 35. He never lived to see the full fruition of all those years of hard work, and that tragic turn of events is precisely what makes “tick, tick… BOOM!” relevant and provides its considerable emotional power. In that light, it’s essentially a musical “memento mori,” a reminder that the clock eventually runs out for all of us.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not also a celebration of life in the theater, and Miranda is probably better suited than anyone to make us see that side of the coin. Now unquestionably in the highest echelon of status as a Broadway icon, he came of age in the era of “Rent,” and he takes pains to make his depiction of Manhattan in the ‘90s as authentic as possible.

Capturing the era with touches like Keith Haring-inspired murals and the use of “Love Shack” as a party anthem, his movie keeps Larson’s story within the context of his time while drawing clear connections to our own. His reverence for Larson – whom he cites as a seminal inspiration for his own future work – manifests itself palpably throughout. Yet despite that (or perhaps because of it), so does an infectiously cheery tone. Yes, things get heavy; there are hardships and heartbreaks at every turn, because that’s what a life in the theater means. But at the same time, there’s just so much fun to be had. The camaraderie, the energy, and the joy of simply living in that world comes leaping off the screen (often thanks to the enthusiastic choreography of Ryan Heffington) with the kind of giddy, effortless ease that might almost make us jealous if it didn’t lift our spirits so much. No matter that the lead character spends most of the movie second-guessing his path; we never doubt for a moment that, for him, the rewards of following his passion outweigh the sacrifices a thousand times over.

That’s something Miranda also understands. His movie drives home the point that the joy of doing theater is its own reward, and he’s willing to prove it by turning up in a bit part just for the sake of being a part of the show. And he’s not the only one. The screen is littered with living legends; in one memorable sequence alone, a who’s-who of Broadway’s brightest stars – Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Andre DeShield, Bebe Neuwirth, Joel Grey, and at least a dozen more – serve as a high-profile backup chorus of extras for a song at the diner, but there are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos in almost every scene. It almost feels like a gimmick, or an effort to turn the movie into a “spot the star” trivia game for hardcore fans – until you realize that these are the best and brightest people in their field, who have willingly chosen to show up and participate even though they did not have to. They are there purely for love, and you can see it in their faces.

Miranda scores big across the board as a director – this is his feature film directorial debut, which confirms the standing assumption the man can do anything. But “tick, tick… BOOM!” is a star turn for its leading player, and full credit must also go – and emphatically so – to Garfield, who surpasses expectations as Larson. The one-time “Spiderman” actor trained extensively to be able to master the demands of singing the role, and it shows; he comes off as a true musical theater trouper, worthy beyond doubt of sharing the screen with so many giants. Even better, he integrates that challenge into the whole of a flamboyantly joyful performance that makes Larson endearingly, compellingly three-dimensional. It’s a career-topping piece of work.

The rest of the principal cast – a refreshingly inclusive ensemble that reminds us that Larson was instrumental in making Broadway a much more diverse place – are equally fine. De Jesús gets a long-deserved chance to shine as Michael, and Shipp brings a quiet calm to the easily-could-have-been-overshadowed Susan that makes her the perfect balance to Garfield’s high-octane energy.

Joshua Henry and Vanessa Hudgens contribute much more than their stellar vocal talents to their pair of roles as Larson friends and collaborators, and there are delicious supporting turns by Judith Light and Bradley Whitford – who gives an affectionately amusing and dead-on accurate screen impersonation of Broadway legend-of-legends Stephen Sondheim, one of Larson’s (and Miranda’s) biggest influences and inspirations, who accordingly looms large in the story despite his relatively short amount of screen time.

It should be obvious by now that “tick, tick… BOOM!” is a delight for people who love musical theater. But what if you’re not one of those people? The good news is that there is so much to enjoy here, so much real enjoyment, so much talent, so much hard work on display that nobody will have any reason to be bored.

Even people who DON’T love musical theater.

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Books

James Ivory on movies, beauty — and a love of penises

If you enjoy film and wit you’ll love ‘Solid Ivory’

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(Book cover image courtesy of Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

‘Solid Ivory: Memoirs’
By James Ivory
C.2021, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
$30/399 pages

Few things have been more pleasurable to me during the pandemic than Merchant/Ivory films. COVID becomes a dim memory as I ogle the costumes, beautiful vistas from Italy to India, music and spot-on dialogue of “A Room with a View,” “Maurice,” “Remains of the Day” and other Merchant/Ivory movies.

For decades, fans from gay men to grandmas have enjoyed these films, directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant in partnership with the writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

In “Solid Ivory,” Ivory, 93, gives us his memories of movie making, growing up gay, his decades-long romantic and professional partnership with Merchant and (you’re reading this correctly) the penises he has known.

If you believe that elders don’t enjoy sex, Ivory’s memoir will blow your ageism to smithereens.

From watching the movies he’s directed and knowing his age, you might think (as I did) that Ivory would be shy about talking of his sexuality. Wow, was I wrong!

Ivory appreciates penises as a sommelier savors fine wine.

Ivory knew that he liked boys early on. Ivory recalls playing at age seven with a boy named Eddy. He and Eddy were “putting our penises into each other’s mouths,” Ivory writes, “…I made it clear that Eddy’s dick must not touch my lips or tongue, nor the inside of my mouth. I had learned all about germs at school by then.”

Though Ivory and Merchant were devoted partners, they each had other lovers. Bruce Chatwin, the travel writer who died from AIDS, was Ivory’s friend, and sometimes, lover.

Chatwin’s penis was “Uncut, rosy, schoolboy-looking,” Ivory writes.

Ivory’s memoir isn’t prurient. His sexuality doesn’t overpower the narrative. It runs through “Solid Ivory” like a flavorful spice.

The book is more an impressionistic mosaic than a chronological memoir. Ivory, often, tells the stories of his life through letters he’s written and received (from lovers, friends and professional contacts) as well as from diary entries.

Many of the chapters in the memoir were previously published in other publications such as The New Yorker.

“Solid Ivory” was originally published in a limited edition by Shrinking Violet Press. The Press is a small press run by Peter Cameron, a novelist, and editor of “Solid Ivory.” Ivory grew up in Klamath Falls, Ore. He was originally named Richard Jerome Hazen. His parents changed his name when they adopted him.
Some of the most engaging moments of the memoir are when Ivory writes about what life was like for a child during the Depression.

Ivory’s father lost his savings when the stock market crashed, and his mother frequently gave food to “tramps” who came to the door.

His “eating tastes were definitely formed during the Depression,” Ivory writes.

Since that time, Ivory has lived everywhere from England to Italy. “But although I consider myself an advanced expert in the more sophisticated forms of cuisine,” Ivory writes, “My gastronomical roots remain dug deep in the impoverished soil of the American Depression.” Ivory became smitten with movies when he saw his first picture when he was five.

He and Merchant, a Muslim from India who died in 2005, fell in love when they met on the steps of the Indian consulate in New York in 1961. I wish Ivory had written more about the 30+ movies that he made (mostly with Merchant and Jhabvala, who died in 2013).

Yet, he provides tantalizing recollections of filmmaking, actors and celebs.

The chapters on “Difficult Women like Raquel Welch and Vanessa Redgrave” are fun to read.

Welch, a bombshell brat, doesn’t want to play a love scene in “The Wild Party.” During the filming of “The Bostonians,” Boston is captivated by the drama of Redgrave’s off-screen politics.

Ivory isn’t that impressed when in 2018, at age 89, he becomes the oldest Academy Award winner when he receives the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for “Call Me By Your Name.” “Its fame eclipses even Michelangelo’s David and the Statue of Liberty,” Ivory says, with irony, of the Oscar statue.

If you enjoy the movies, beauty and wit, you’ll love “Solid Ivory.”

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