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Calendar: Feb. 21-27

Parties, support groups, performances and more for the week ahead

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calendar, Mark Evans, Book of Mormon, gay news, Washington Blade
calendar, Mark Evans, Book of Mormon, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Evans in ‘Book of Mormon,’ which opens next week in Baltimore. (Photo by Joan Marcus; courtesy Broadway Across America)

Events calendar for the week ahead.

Friday, Feb. 21

Katzen Arts Center (4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) presents “RENT” tonight at 8 p.m. It runs through March 1st. The musical is set during the AIDS epidemic in New York City and follows a group of young bohemian artists, including a drag queen, a lesbian couple and a gay couple, as they fight against their capitalist landlord who wants to make changes to their neighborhood. Tickets are $15. For more details, visit american.edu/cas/auarts.

Ziegfeld’s Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) hosts its fifth year anniversary party with adult entertainment star Angel Rock tonight at 9 p.m. There will be special events on both floors all night. Music by DJ Steve Henderson and a special laser show by John Klaja. For details, visit secretsdc.com.

Gay District meets at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) tonight from 8:30-9:30 p.m. The facilitated group discussion covers building understanding of gay culture and personal identity and awareness of community events for LGBT men between the ages of 18 and 35 in the D.C. area. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or gaydistrict.org.

Saturday, Feb. 22

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) tonight from 8-10 a.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email [email protected]. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Town  (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts “Bear Invasions: SCRUFF’D UP,” hosted by Johnny Scruff, tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. Drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit towndc.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts “CTRLympics Closing Ceremonies” tonight from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Enjoy $3 PBR Tallboys, $5 rail drinks and $4 Fireball shots. Music by DJs Jeff Prior and Adam Kousarri-Amin. There will be a special Olympics competition. Cover is $5. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts a free relationship workshop for lesbian couples today from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. This workshop is led by professional relationship coach Jayne Kelly and focuses on family. Bring your lunch and learn how to address spoken and unspoken needs and how to strengthen your bond with your partner for a healthy family. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Sunday, Feb. 23

“Music with the Angels” concert series presents “Vocal and Instrumental Music of the 20th Century” at Church of the Holy City (1611 16th St. N.W.) today at 3 p.m. There will be musical performances and poetry readings. Reception follows. Admission is free but donations to the Organ Fund are appreciated. For details, visit churchoftheholycity.org.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors club, hosts a C&O at Seneca Quarries hike this morning at 10 a.m. The walk goes through 19th century industrial ruins, including Rowsers Ford and Riley’s Lock, in the Washington area. Lunch will be near the Seneca Creek Aqueduct. Bring beverages, lunch, boots and $6 for transportation fees. Meet at Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station (10300 Rockville Pk., Bethesda, Md.) on the red line. For details, visit adventuring.org.

Nellies Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts a drag brunch today with two shows at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Monday, Feb. 24

SAGE Metro D.C. and AARP D.C. present a screening of “The New Black” at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The documentary focuses on how the African-American community is dealing with the gay rights issue by examining the black church and documenting activists, families and clergies on both sides of the debate. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th 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.

Allied in Greek,” an amateur drag competition and Trevor Project fundraiser, has been rescheduled for tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium (730 21st Street, N.W.) after snow forced a postponement two weeks ago. Allied in Pride, the George Washington University LGBT student advocacy organization, and the GW Greek Community are joining efforts on the event which will feature contestants in drag who will lip sync to a song. Chanel Devereaux, a local drag queen, will be on the judging panel. Half of the proceeds will go to the Trevor Project. Tickets are $5 general admission. Find out more by searching for “Allied in Greek” on Facebook.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Tony Award-winning musical “Book of Mormon,” a satirical comedy about two Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda, opens at the Hippodrome at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center (12 N Eutaw St., Baltimore) tonight at 8 p.m. and continues through March 9. Tickets range from $43.55-$199.85. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit baltimore.broadway.com.

The D.C. Center and Pros in the City host speed dating for gay men at the Navy Yards Boilermaker Building (300 Tingey St., S.E.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Dating is approximately one hour. After enjoy a mixer with fellow speed daters. Cash bar. Check in is at 7 p.m. and dating begins at 7:20 p.m. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Genderqueer D.C. holds a discussion group at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..)  at 7 p.m. tonight. The group is for anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary . For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Revel hosts a queer women’s “#BeachLife” happy hour at VeraCruz Gallery (2108 Vermont Ave., N.W.) this evening at 6 p.m. Enjoy Caribbean décor and drink specials. The first 20 guests receive a free pair of sunglasses. Mautner Project, a women’s health organization, will join to share information on women’s wellness, fitness and health care options.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

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 speed dating for lesbian and bisexual women at the Navy Yards Boilermaker Building (300 Tingey St., S.E.)  tonight from 7-9 p.m. Dating is approximately one hour. After enjoy a mixer with fellow speed daters. Cash bar. Check in is at 7 p.m. and dating begins at 7:20 p.m. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) hold a meeting at the D.C. Center (2000 14th 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.

Whitman Walker provides free and confidential HIV testing at Glorious Health Club (2120 West Virginia Ave., N.E.) tonight from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org.

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Bars & Parties

Blade’s summer closing party set for Sept. 17 in Rehoboth

Benefits journalism scholarship

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Rehoboth Beach Museum, Joe Maggio Realty, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Washington Blade’s 15-year tradition of hosting a summer kickoff party in Rehoboth Beach was disrupted due to COVID restrictions. In lieu of that May event, the Blade is hosting a summer closing party on Friday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at The Pines (56 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). 

Tickets are $20, which includes two drinks and appetizers. The event benefits the Blade Foundation’s Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, a 12-week program in which an LGBTQ student journalist covers stories of interest to Delaware’s queer community each summer. 

All COVID safety protocols will be followed, including a requirement that attendees furnish proof of vaccination to gain entry. 

If you are unable to attend you can make a donation to the Blade Foundation at BladeFoundation.org. Sponsors of the event include Delmarva Power and The Pines.

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Bars & Parties

Rehoboth to close out summer with SunFest

Series of events to replace long-running Sundance due to pandemic

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This year’s Sundance in Rehoboth is renamed SunFest and will look different from this scene in 2019 due to the pandemic. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

SunFest will feature a week of live performances, dances, and a live auction, sponsored by non-profit LGBTQ+ center CAMP Rehoboth.

The weeklong festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 and is a change from the annual SunDance that CAMP Rehoboth has sponsored since 1988. This transformation began last year when the event was forced to go digital due to the coronavirus and the in-person events scheduled this year are important, according to development director and co-coordinator of SunFest Anita Broccolino.

“We love that community feel and the in-person makes all the difference in the world for us. Not being able to do it last year just reminded everyone how important we all are to one another,” Broccolino said. “I think that bringing back these events this year is just huge for us and it will be extra celebratory as a result.”

The festival begins with a 5k race and online auction opening on Sunday. Monday night features a give-back event at Iron Hill Brewery while Tuesday’s agenda is still to be determined, said Broccolino. Diego’s will host a Studio 54 give-back dance party on Wednesday and Thursday is the Port 251 women’s give-back. 

Live performances featuring the Skivvies, Randy Harrison and Diane Huey are scheduled for Friday night and Jennifer Holiday will follow with a performance on Saturday night, both at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. The festival closes out Sunday with auction pick-ups and Fun in the Sand and Sun, according to the CAMP Rehoboth website.

This event is also important to the organization’s contributions to the community, said Broccolino.

“The essential services we provide for free to the community, which is a huge amount of health and wellness activities, as well as arts programming, a lot of youth programming and the community counts on us for those things. We never stopped during COVID, we made as much as we could virtual, but we took quite a hit not being able to raise those funds and awareness of the programs,” Broccolino said. “We invite the entire community to come celebrate with us and make it to Rehoboth Beach, and let’s make it joyful, and wonderful and make sure we’re living up to the standards of all the people who helped found CAMP Rehoboth and live up to their legacy and beyond.”

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Arts & Entertainment

Rehoboth Beach welcomes Christopher Peterson back

Drag legend to perform weekly beginning July 4

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Christopher Peterson, drag, gay news, Washington Blade
Drag legend Christopher Peterson. (Photo courtesy Peterson)

Christopher Peterson will celebrate 25 years of performing his brilliant show EYECONS when he brings it back to Rehoboth Beach this summer. He will be at Clear Space Theatre every Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m. from July 4 to Sept. 5.

I have seen the show a number of times over the years from when he performed at the Renegade showroom (youngsters may not remember the Renegade out on the highway) to now at the Clear Space Theatre, so I am biased in saying it is always worth the price of a ticket. In fact it is worth a lot more because Christopher is an amazing talent. In addition to his own show he can be seen in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” at Clear Space.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Christopher. He has lived in Key West, Fla., for years and performs there during the winter and when he isn’t booked around the country. Christopher told me he was born Moncton, New Brunswick but grew up in Halifax (actually Dartmouth across the harbor) Nova Scotia, Canada 58 years ago.

We talked about gay life today and I asked him when he came out and he responded: “in the womb.” He told me he always knew who he was even before he knew you could call it gay. He told me he was lucky and grew up in a family that always accepted him for who he was. I asked him if he was excited about coming back to Rehoboth and he told me he sometimes thought of this as his final ‘widow tour’ as it is his first time back at the beach since he lost the love of his life, James Mill, in September of 2019. They were together for 35 years and James was not only his partner in life but in business. Many in Rehoboth knew James and will miss seeing him at Christopher’s side. He was a beautiful man.

Christopher has been called North America’s greatest female impersonator and though I haven’t seen all of them, I have seen enough to thoroughly concur with that. He not only impersonate the characters, he seems to become them. He never lip-syncs but sings their songs and talks in their voice. Christopher once said his only vocal training was in high school and in church choirs but you would never know that when listening to him sing. Christopher also designs all of his own costumes and they are incredible. It’s amazing how quickly he can change from Marilyn Monroe and become Cher with just a new gown and new wig that he has stashed in the closet at the side of the stage. The transformation is mesmerizing.

Over the years he has impersonated so many iconic women, including Marilyn Monroe, Carol Channing, Madonna, Joan Rivers, Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Cher, Bette Davis, and Lucille Ball. He will add a new character once in a while if he feels comfortable having tried them out — one being Lady Gaga.

I asked him if he has a favorite character and he said, “That’s like asking me if I have a favorite child. These are all my children and they each represent something special to me.” He said, “as an example Streisand is the voice and Garland is the heart.” I remember he was once quoted as saying Judy Garland is his favorite to do and since he told me she represents the heart it didn’t surprise me as Christopher has a big heart. He often saves her for the end of the show and when you see her you leave wanting more.

I asked Christopher about the weirdest thing that ever happened during his show. He told me the story about an evening during the show, when he talks with an audience member, he leaned over the stage and began to chat with a table on the right of the stage and asked an older gentleman, Christopher called him Mary, how he liked the show. After saying he loved it the next thing Christopher saw was Mary keeling over. Turns out he had a heart attack. Christopher said he told the audience there would be a pause in the show and asked if there was a doctor in the house. One came forward and attended to the man and called 911. The gentleman seemed to recover and after they took him out on a stretcher the show went on. Christopher said this has happened more than once at his shows. Maybe it’s the excitement.

I asked him if any of the women he impersonates have been to see the show and was surprised when he said no. I would think any of those still alive would be honored to see how Christopher does them and shows them off so well.

This will be an exciting summer in Rehoboth and Christopher is prepared for visitors to come to the show and still follow any restrictions in effect for the pandemic. The theater has said it will continue to abide by all COVID restrictions in order to ensure the safety of both the actors and the audience. Clear Space Theatre has been doing this all winter and doing it safely.

I urge anyone who has never seen Christopher Peterson to get your tickets early as anyone who has seen him will be buying tickets to his shows and you don’t want to miss this chance to have a great fun evening in the theater.

Christopher Peterson as Lucille Ball. (Photo courtesy Peterson)

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