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Calendar: March 7-13

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

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What's Up Batman?, calendar, gay news, Washington Blade
What's Up Batman?, calendar, gay news, Washington Blade

‘What’s Up Batman?,’ a piece from the ‘Portraits of Pop Culture’ exhibit which opens tonight at Del Ray Artisans. (Image courtesy DRA)

Calendar for LGBT D.C. for the week ahead.

Friday, March 7

Del Ray Artisans (2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) opens its “Portraits of Pop Culture” exhibit, a collection of artists’ cartoons and caricatures of important people in pop culture, with an opening reception tonight from 7-10 p.m. The exhibit is open through March 30th. Admission is free. For more details, visit thedelrayartisans.org.

Adodi D.C., a black same gender-loving men’s social/spiritual group, hosts its bi-monthly potluck discussion at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. featuring guest journalist and author Wyatt O’Brian. O’Brian will be talking about intimate partner violence and abuse. Please bring food to share. For details, call 202-360-1143 or email [email protected].

“Ladies and Laughter,” a benefit for Mautner Project of Whitman-Walker Health and the Human Rights Campaign is at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.) tonight from 7-11 p.m. Lesbian comedians Michele Balan, Gloria Bigelow and Dana Goldberg will perform with comedian Chelsea Shorte emceeing the event. Tickets are $75 for general admission and $100 for VIP. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit whitman-walker.org.

Gay District, a facilitated group discussion focused on building understanding of gay culture and personal identity for men ages 18 through 35, meets at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 8:30-9:30 p.m. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Saturday, March 8

Team D.C. hosts its annual fashion show and model competition at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. Fashions include club wear, swim wear, underwear and more. Tickets are $15 and proceeds help support the Team D.C. College Scholarship program for LGBT student athletes. You can bid for the clothes right off the models. For more details, visit teamdc.org/fashionshow.

The Mautner Project of Whitman-Walker Health holds its “24th Annual Mautner Project Gala and Dance” at JW Marriot (1331 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) tonight from 6 p.m.-midnight. Honorees include Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur and former Mautner Project Executive Director Leslie J. Calman. Entertainment provided by Kellye Gray and DJ Rosie. Tickets are $250. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts “BEARZERK,” a bear party, tonight at 10 p.m. Music by DJs Dean Sullivan, Tommy Cornelis and George D’ADHEMAR. Well and domestic drinks are $5. Jamesons, Jagers and fireballs are $6. Cover is $5 before midnight and $7 after. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit cobaltdc.com.

Sunday, March 9

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.

Nellie’s Sports Bar hosts its weekly drag brunch today with two seatings at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. For a full menu, including vegetarian options, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors group, hosts a “Snickers Gap” hike today at 8:30 a.m.The hike is along the Appalachian Trail and centered on Snickers Gap where Route 7 crosses the blue Ride in Round Hill, Va. Bring lunch, boots, beverages and $15 for transportation fees. Meet in the Kiss and Ride lot of the East Falls Church Metro Station (2001 N Sycamore St., Arlington, Va.). For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Monday, March 10

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.

Youth Working Group holds its monthly meeting at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) this evening from 6-7:30 p.m. The group works to support and advocate for D.C.’s LGBT youth. For more 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.

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

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts poker night tonight at 8 p.m. Win prizes. Free to play. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Tuesday, March 11

D.C. Bi Women hosts its monthly meeting in the upstairs room of Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

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

Wednesday, March 12

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.

Big Gay Book Group meets tonight at 7 p.m. at 1155 F St., N.W. Suite 200 to discuss “The Martin Duberman Reader: The Essential Historical, Biographical and Autobiographical Writings” by Martin Duberman, who founded the first graduate program LGBT studies and his writings have focused on the medical community’s attempt to “cure” homosexuality. Newcomers welcome. For more details, email [email protected].

Queer for Christ, a young-adult LGBT Christian group, hosts a March Happy Hour at Larry’s Lounge (1836 18th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/groups/QFCDC.

Rainbow Response, an LGBT intimate partner violence prevention group, meets in the third floor conference room at 5 Thomas Circle N.W. today from 6-7 p.m. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, March 13

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today at Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) from 6-8 p.m.. Come help with food preparation and packing groceries. Coffee and donuts will be provided. For details, visit burgundycrescent.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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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.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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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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