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Calendar: Oct. 25

Parties, concerts, exhibits and more through Oct. 31

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Lazlo Pearlman, gay news, Washington Blade
Lazlo Pearlman, gay news, Washington Blade

British FTM transgender performer Lazlo Pearlman is Raven’s Night’s Master of Ceremonies at the Birchmere Saturday night. (Photo by Diaz Wichmann; courtesy Raven’s Night)

Friday, Oct. 25

Women in Their 20s, a social discussion group for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and all women interested in women, meets today at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) at 8 p.m. Come meet other queer women in a fun and friendly setting. All welcome to join. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

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.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts “JOCK” tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. with DJ Jake Marx. Dress code is sports gear or just a jock. Dress code strictly enforced. There is an open bar from 9-10 p.m. Cover is $10. For details, visit greenlantendc.com.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts “Kickoff” featuring DJ Matt Bailer tonight from 10 p.m.-closing. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Saturday, Oct. 26

The Birchmere (3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria Va.) hosts “Raven’s Night” tonight from 5:30-10 p.m. Enjoy a three-part event that includes “All Hallow’s Eve Exposition,” a carnival and sideshow with a mystical theme, “Salon Lunaire Concert” dinner and drinks accompanied by live music entertainment and “Villians” a cabaret belly dance show that pays homage to villains and villainesses. Lazlo Pearlman hosts the evening. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include all three events. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit birchmere.com.

The Arlington Artists Alliance hosts its third annual studio tour today and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The studios are located throughout Arlington County, the Crystal City Studios Underground and in private homes. Meet the artists and tour their studios while learning about their art, materials and process. For more details, visit arlingtonartistsalliance.org.

The Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) hosts “GAY/BASH,” a monthly dance party, tonight featuring rock and pop music. There will be performances by Rumor Millz, Dax Exclamationpont and Heidi Glüm featuring special guest Summer Camp. DJs Joshua and Dean spin tracks. Doors open at 10 p.m. Performances are at midnight and 1:30 a.m. Cover is $5. For details, visit blackcatdc.com.

Metropolitan Community Church of Washington D.C. (474 Ridge St., N.W.) hosts its monthly “Spanish Speaker Outreach Ministry” at 6:30 p.m. today. The theme is “Remembering Our Heroes and Family Members’ Contributions to Social Justice.” Come celebrate loved ones who have passed away and remember their struggles. Everyone is welcome to bring a picture or offering to place on the altar in their loved one’s memory. LGBT Latinos(as) and their friends are welcome. After enjoy an array of Latin-American appetizers and snacks. For more information, visit mccdc.com.

Historic Congressional Cemetery (1801 E St., S.E.) hosts “Ghosts and Goblets, Congressional Cemetery’s Fourth Annual Halloween Soirée” tonight from 8 p.m.- 1 a.m. Enjoy drinks, dancing, a heated tent and ghost tours. General admission tickets are $60 and include four drink tickets, a guided twilight tour of the cemetery, entry to the heated tent and live entertainment. VIP tickets are $80 and include a one-year membership to Historic Congressional Cemetry. Costumes are strongly encouraged. For more details and to purchase tickets visit congressionalcemetery.org.

Sunday, Oct. 27

Equality Maryland celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Historic Lord Baltimore Hotel (20 W Baltimore St., Baltimore) today from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. will be honored for his contribution to LGBT equality in Maryland. The VIP cocktail reception and silent auction will be from 11 a.m.-noon. Brunch is from noon- 2 p.m. Entertainment includes Maryland LGBT performers. Tickets are $100. For details, visit equalitymaryland.org.

The OWN network presents “Bridegroom,” a documentary about a gay couple torn apart by tragedy, tonight at 10 p.m. It tells the emotional story of Tom Bridegroom’s accidental death and the repercussions having a relationship outside the legal protection of marriage had on his partner Shane Bitney Crone. Check local listings for channel.

The Washington Concert Opera presents an Italian-themed brunch in honor of composer Gisueppe Verdi’s 200th birthday at the Josephine Butler Parks Center (2437 15th St., N.W.) today at 11 a.m. Enjoy Italian food and drink, a silent auction, an exhibition of Italian artwork and a live performance of Verdi’s opera arias directed by Maestro Antony Walker. Tickets range from $60-$200. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit concertopera.org.

Imagination Stage begins six-week fall classes in drama, musical theater and dance for ages 1-18. For details on the variety of classes offered and tuition prices visit imaginationstage.org.

The Foundry Gallery (1314 18th St., N.W.) holds a “Dialogue with Artist” with artist Linda Button today from 4-5 p.m. followed by a reception from 5-7 p.m. The dialogue closes out Button’s solo show “Becoming,” that explored the meaning of mannequins in her paintings, at Foundry Gallery. For more information, visit foundrygallery.org.

Monday, Oct. 28

The Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) hosts happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. today. All drinks are half price. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is free. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Tuesday, Oct 29

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

JR.’s Bar and Grill (1519 17th St., N.W.)  hosts the 27th annual 17th Street High Heel Race, a costumed drag race, from 7-10 p.m. tonight. Parade starts at 7 p.m and race starts at 9 p.m. The race begins at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) and ends at JR.’s. Mayor Vincent Gray is the grand marshal along with Birdie LaCage and Ba’Naka. For more details, visit cobaltc.com.

Cobalt hosts a High Heel Race after party tonight (corner of 17th and R streets, N.W.). DJ Keenan Orr will spin throwback R&B and hip-hop on the first floor. DJ Madscience will spin current pop and dance on the second floor with DJ Sean Morris spinning house on the third floor. It begins immediately after the race and runs until 2 a.m. For ages 18 and up. Cover is $5. Visit cobaltdc.com for details.

Wednesday, Oct. 30

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 newcomers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

SMYAL (410 7th St, S.E.) holds “Fall Brunch Pizza Party and Info Session” today from 5-6:30 p.m. Come eat pizza and sign up to be a guest at SMYAL’s Fall Brunch. Learn what the brunch is all about and what to expect. For more details, visit smyal.org.

The Human Rights Campaign hosts its second annual “Chefs for Equality” at the Ritz Carlton (1150 22nd St., N.W.) today from 6:30-9:30 p.m. D.C., Maryland and Virginia’s top chefs and mixologists serve up food and drink for a night dedicated to equality. Tickets are $150. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit action.hrc.org.

Thursday, Oct. 31

British singer-songwriter Jessie Ware performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring (8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md.) tonight at 8 p.m. Special guest Mikky Ekko also performs. Tickets are $30.50. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more details, visit fillmoresilverspring.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts “Haunt” tonight from 9 p.m.- 2 a.m. There is a Halloween costume contest at midnight. First place winner gets a $750 prize, second place winner gets a $150 prize and third place winner gets a $100 prize. DJs MadScience and Sean Morris spin tunes for the night. Cover is $5 after 10 p.m. Guests must be 18 and over. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts its “2nd Annual MIXTAPE Halloween Party” tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Come in costume. Cover is $10. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over.

First Baptist Church of Washington (1328 16th Street, N.W.) hosts a special Halloween-themed organ recital tonight from 7-8 p.m. featuring local organists Charles Miller, Sam Carabetta, Kevin Biggins, Paul Dolinsky, Irvin Peterson, Scott Matthias, Ted Gustin and Lon Schreiber, organist and choir master at the church. They will perform works on the church’s brand new Austin pipe organ. Attendees are asked to dress in costume to attend if possible. They will perform works of an especially gothic or “spooky” nature. Visit firstbaptistdc.org for details.

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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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