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Queer celluloid

Festivals, docs, features, retrospectives, contests and more among local spring film season

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film, Val Lauren, Christian Patrick, Interior. Leather Bar., gay news, Washington Blade
film, Val Lauren, Christian Patrick, Interior. Leather Bar., gay news, Washington Blade

Val Lauren and Christian Patrick in the controversial ‘Interior. Leather Bar.’ (Photo courtesy Strand Releasing)

The spring film season in Washington starts with a bang with “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” a comic and poignant documentary by Chiemi Karasawa that captures the legendary performer’s days in New York City. The film interweaves footage from Stritch’s professional life (teasing Alec Baldwin on the set of “30 Rock” and struggling to remember the tricky lyrics of Stephen Sondheim for her final show at the Café Carlyle) and personal life (medial crises and packing for her move from Manhattan to Michigan). “Shoot Me” opens at West End Cinema on March 14.

The works of groundbreaking gay writer Tennessee Williams will be among those featured at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring this spring. A celebration of Vivien Leigh’s centenary will include “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” and Leigh’s iconic performance as Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” A retrospective on the career of Burt Lancaster will include his sizzling performance opposite Oscar winner Anna Magnani in “The Rose Tattoo,” as well as his powerful appearance in the classic “Come Back, Little Sheba” by gay playwright William Inge. Details at afi.com/silver.

Samantha Master, The New Black, film, gay news, Washington Blade

Samantha Master in ‘The New Black.’ (Photo by Jen Lemen)

Two documentaries about anti-gay campaigns will be released on DVD this spring. Michael Lucas’ “Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda” will be available on April 1 and finds the gay porn legend continuing his branching out into non-porn terrain. Yoruba Richen’s documentary “The New Black” examines how the black community is grappling with the issues of marriage equality and civil rights, and how the Christian right is exploiting anti-gay sentiment in black churches. It comes to home formats in June after it is broadcast on PBS as part of its Gay Pride Month celebration.

April 1 is also the DVD release date for the documentary “I Am Divine,” which explores the transformation of mild-mannered Baltimore native Harris Glenn Milstead into Divine, a “cinematic terrorist” and legendary international drag icon. Filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz combines interviews with Milstead’s mother and Divine’s cinematic collaborators to create a complex portrait of a fascinating artist.

On a lighter note, the trend of female buddy movies continues with “The Other Woman,” a comedy featuring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton as three women turn the tables on the man who cheats on all three of them. The movie, which opens in wide release on April 25, also features a performance by pop singer Nicki Minaj.

B’more QFest (formerly/formally known as the Baltimore Queer Film and Media Festival) strives to “bring unity to the community” by bringing quality LGBT film to Charm City. Upcoming events include a double bill of “Sordid Lives” and “Southern Baptist Sissies” with screenwriter Del Shores on April 6 and Leslie Jordan (“Sordid Lives” and “Will & Grace”) performing his one-man show “Fruit Fly” on June 10-11. Details at bmorequeer.org.

Pierre Deladonchamps, Stranger by the Lake, film, gay news, Washington Blade

Pierre Deladonchamps in ‘Stranger by the Lake.’ (Photo courtesy Strand Releasing)

Stranger by the Lake,” the gay erotic thriller that won the Queer Palm (an independent award given to entries made to the Cannes Film Festival) and was named one of the top films of 2013 by the influential Cahiers du Cinema is still looking for a venue in D.C. If all else fails, this steamy tale of murder and sexual awakening set by a scenic lake in rural France will be available on DVD May 13.

Interior. Leather Bar.,” inspired by the mythology surrounding the 1980 film “Cruising,” will be released on DVD on April 15. Filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews (“I Want Your Love”) reimagine the “lost footage” from the controversial film as they document their own challenges with shooting sexually explicit material.

LGBT filmmakers will have a chance to strut their stuff in the annual 48 Hour Film Fest. From 7:30 p.m. on May 2 to 7:30 p.m. on May 4, teams of local artists will create original short films. The films will be screened the following weekend at AFI Silver Theatre and the winner will advance to the national competition. Teams can register at 48hourfilm.com.

Although the D.C. Shorts Film Festival won’t be held until September, the staff and volunteers, under the direction of founder Jon Gann, an openly gay director, will host a variety of events this spring. In March, the Mentors program will offer a series of workshops for filmmakers of all skill levels. On June 13-14, the D.C. Shorts Laughs will offer evenings that combine funny short films and stand-up comedians. And most importantly, the Festival is now accepting entries from both directors and screenwriters. For more information, visit dcshorts.com.

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Out & About

DC Center to host Alzheimer’s awareness event

‘Seniors & Cognition’ talk to explore warning signs, healthy brain practices

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The DC LGBTQ+ Community Center, the DC Department on Aging and Community Living, and the Alzheimer’s Association are joining forces to host “Seniors & Cognition with the Alzheimer’s Association” on Thursday, July 25 at 2 p.m. on Zoom. 

Guest speakers will walk the audience through understanding Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, their warning signs, healthy brain practices, and more. The lecture series will consist of three 1.5-hour sessions, with the others set to take place in August and September. 

To register, visit the DC Center’s website

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Sports

Brittney Griner and wife celebrate birth of their son

Cherelle Griner gave birth to healthy baby boy earlier this month

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Brittney Griner (Screen capture via Instagram)

It’s a boy for Brittney and Cherelle Griner. The Phoenix Mercury center revealed the news in interviews with CBS Sports and NBC News. 

“Every minute I feel like he’s popping into my head, said Griner. “Literally everything revolves around him. And I love it.”

The couple officially welcomed the baby boy on July 8. He weighs 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

“That’s my man. He is amazing,” Griner told CBS Sports. “They said as soon as you see them, everything that you thought mattered just goes out the window. That’s literally what happened.” 

Griner, 33, corrected the CBS News correspondent who said, “You’re about to be a mom!” She told her Cherelle, 33, had already delivered the baby and that she preferred to be called,“Pops.” 

Griner told NBC News correspondent Liz Kreutz they chose to name their newborn son, “Bash.” 

The WNBA star said she is Bash’s biggest fan and is constantly taking photos of him. “My whole phone has turned into him now,” Griner told CBS Sports.

The baby comes as Griner gets set to play in Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game and then head to Paris with Team USA to compete for their 8th straight gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games. 

“It kind of sucks because I have to leave, but at the same time, he will understand,” said Griner. 

Her time in Paris will mark the first time since the basketball star was released from a Russian gulag, where she was held on drug charges for nearly 10 months in 2022.

“BG is locked in and ready to go,” Griner told NBC News on Friday. “I’m happy, I’m in a great place. I’m representing my country, the country that fought for me to come back. I’m gonna represent it well.”

Griner also spoke with NBC News about her hopes the U.S. can win the freedom of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian maximum security prison on Friday. 

“We have to get him back,” she said. 

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Calendar

Calendar: July 19-25

LGBTQ events in the days to come

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Friday, July 19

“Center Aging Friday Tea Time” will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more details, email [email protected].

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Happy Hour” at 7 p.m. at Puro Gusto. This event is ideal for making new friends, professional networking, idea-sharing, and community building. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, July 20

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

“LGBTQ People of Color Support Group” will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Sunday, July 21

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 6:30 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to come enjoy an evening of Italian-style dining and conversation with other LGBTQ+ folk. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Funday Social and Games” at 3 p.m. at Moxy. This event is ideal for making meaningful new connections and informal community building, or just to unwind and enjoy the group happy hour. There will be Monopoly, chess, checkers, Jenga and many other games. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Monday, July 22

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected].

“Queer Book Club” will be at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The club meets on the fourth Monday of the month to discuss queer books by queer authors. This month’s read is yet to be announced. For more details, email [email protected].

Tuesday, July 23

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Coming Out Discussion Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a peer-facilitated discussion group and a safe space to share experiences about coming out and discuss topics as it relates to doing so. For more details, visit the group’s Facebook page.

“Genderqueer DC” will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary, whether you’re bigender, agender, genderfluid, or just know that you’re not 100% cis. For more details, email [email protected].

Wednesday, July 24

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit thedccenter.org/careers.

“Asexual and Aromantic Group” will meet at 7 p.m. on Zoom and in person at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected].

Thursday, July 25

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

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