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Calendar: Nov. 15

Parties, concerts, social group meetings and more through Nov. 21

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Transgender Day of Remembrance, Jessica Xavier, Metropolitan Community Church of D.C., MCC-DC, gay news, Washington Blade
Transgender Day of Remembrance, Jessica Xavier, Metropolitan Community Church of D.C., MCC-DC, gay news, Washington Blade, events

D.C.’s Transgender Day of Remembrance is slated for Wednesday night at MCC. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Friday, Nov. 15

Howard Community College’s Rep Stage (10901 Little Patuxent Prkwy., Columbia, Md.) presents “I Am My Own Wife,” a one-man show performed by Michael Stebbins, tonight at 8 p.m. The play tells the true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who survived the Nazi and East German Communist regimes. Tickets range from $33-40. For details, visit repstage.org or call 443-518-1500.

Lisa Marie Presley performs at Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) tonight at 8 p.m. She performs songs from her latest album “Storm and Grace” and older hits. Tickets range from $35-$40. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit wolftrap.org.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NcHogHRE7Y

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts free vodka Friday tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Free rail vodka 11 p.m.-midnight. Two DJs on two floors.  Cover is $10. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

Saturday, Nov. 16

The Latino Queer Bilingual Writing Group hosts its monthly workshop today at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) today from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Open to writers of any genre and levels of experience to share creative work in Spanish or English. Workshop is free and no prior experience is necessary. For details, call 202-682-2245 or email [email protected].

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Casey Trees to help plant 50 shade trees at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (199 Rock Creek Church Rd., N.W.) from 9 a.m.-noon today. Wear appropriate clothing such as closed toe shoes. Bring photo ID. To volunteer, email [email protected]. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.

The Smithsonian hosts 12 contemporary poets for a public reading of their work in “Lines in Long Array: A Civil War Commemoration: Poems and Photographs, Past and Present” at the National Portrait Gallery (8th and F streets, N.W.) in the Tucker McEvoy Auditorium today at 2 p.m. Afterward, there will be a round table discussion and book signing. It is the first time the Smithsonian has commissioned works of poetry. Cost is free. For details, visit npg.si.edu.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts “Gagarama” to celebrate Lady Gaga’s new album “ARTPOP” tonight at 10 p.m. Lady Gaga music will play upstairs and downstairs will be a Gaga-free playlist. The cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. There will be $3 drinks before 11 p.m. The drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.

Sunday, Nov. 17

A benefit for Rehoboth Beach, Del.,-based singer Viki Dee — a popular lesbian entertainer there who lost her home and pets in an October house fire — has been rescheduled to occur today from 2-7 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center (229 Rehoboth Ave.). The benefit will feature 15 local entertainers, silent and live auctions and a spaghetti dinner. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Maggio Shields Real Estate (70 Rehoboth Ave., No. 101), Sign-a-Rama or CAMP Rehoboth (37 Baltimore Ave.).

Dignity Washington, an LGBT Catholic group, hosts “Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible,” a PowerPoint presentation, today at 3 p.m. at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1830 Connecticut Ave.). Danish linguist and theologian K. Renato Lings will give the presentation. Visit dignitywashington.org for details.

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 a circuit hike through Old Rag early this morning at 1:15 a.m. Meet at 1:15 a.m at the East Falls Church Kiss and Ride (2001 N. Sycamore St., Arlington, Va.). Hike time starts at 3:30 a.m. After the hike there will be a wait at the peak to watch the sun rise after 7 a.m. There is an optional breakfast at the Northside 29 Restaurant (5037 Lee Hwy., Warrenton, Va.) after the hike. For advanced hikers only. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks. Wear sturdy boots and bring a head lamp. Cost is $25. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Monday, Nov. 18

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 D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts Adoption Information Night tonight from 6-8 p.m. Learn about the D.C. child welfare system and the need for host/foster families in the District. Foster and host parents will speak as well as representatives of the Latin American Youth Center’s Child Placement programs. A question-and-answer session will follow. The event is free. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

Tuesday, Nov. 19

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its weekly ”FUK!T Packing Party” from 7-10:30 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

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

University of Maryland (College Park, Md.) hosts “Queering the Body: Performing the Self” tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Stamp Student Union. Kris Grey, a gender queer artist, gives a performance lecture about exposing the permeability and constructed nature of the male/female binary. Admission is free. For details, visit umd.edu.

Wednesday, Nov. 20

Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, discusses “The Practical Heart” by Allan Gurganus, a tale about inhabitants in a North Carolina town including a young man dying of AIDS, at 2101 E St., N.W.at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For details, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.

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

The Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) hosts the D.C. observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance today at 6 p.m.  The vigil remembers the transgender people whose lives have been lost. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Nov. 21

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for its 11th annual National Dinner Gala at the NGLCC office (729 15th St., N.W) and the National Building Musem (401 F St., N.W.) today at various times. Volunteers will assist with facilitating the dinner in registration, greeting guests, crowd management and more. There is a possibility volunteers can enjoy the dinner. To volunteer, email [email protected]. For more details on exact volunteer times and locations, visit burgundycrescent.org.

The D.C. Center hosts “Beaujolais Nouveau,” a wine tasting and networking event, tonight from 7-9 p.m.  Beaujolais Nouveua is a red wine produced in the Beaujolais region in France. Every year after weeks of fermentation it is released for sale on the third Thursday of November. The party is hosted by Ebone Bell, founder and managing editor of bi-monthly lesbian publication Tagg, and Laura V Steiner, the owner and CEO of Meliora Pet Care and active LGBT community member. Tickets are $20. To purchase tickets visit thedccenter.org.

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts its monthly Poly Discussion Group at 7 p.m. People of all different stages 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.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts the “2013 NCA Queer No Host Party” tonight from 9 p.m.-midnight. Bring your friends and colleagues for fun and queer solidarity to celebrate the third Queer No Host. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Miss Glamour Girl

Maryland drag pageant held at McAvoy’s

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Miss Shantay is crowned Miss Glamour Girl 2023 at McAvoy's in Parkville, Md. on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Miss Glamour Girl 2023 Pageant was held at McAvoy’s in Parkville, Md. on Sunday, Oct. 1. Miss Shantay was crowned the winner and qualified to compete in the Miss Gay Maryland Pageant in November.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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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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