Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Calendar: April 18-24

Exhibits, concerts, support groups and more for the week ahead

Published

on

Eric Himan, calendar, gay news, Washington Blade
Eric Himan, calendar, gay news, Washington Blade

Eric Himan is at Bear Happy Hour Friday evening. (Photo by Evan Taylor)

Calendar of LGBT D.C.-area events for the week ahead:

Friday, April 18

Out singer-songwriter Eric Himan performs songs from his latest album “Gracefully” at two upcoming shows. First at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) for Bear Happy tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $5 from 10-11 p.m. and $10 after 11 p.m. for guests 21 and over. Guests 18-20 there is a $10 cover all night. Drinks are $3 from 10-11 p.m. Himan will also be the opening act for Ani DiFranco at Rams Head Live (20 Market Pl., Baltimore) on April 26 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $40. For more details, visit towndc.com and ramsheadlive.com.

The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance (AGLA) presents “2014 Miss Gay Arlington” at Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant (555 23rd St. South, Arlington, Va.) tonight at 8 p.m. Contestants compete in categories including talent and evening gown. Cover is $10. For more details, visit agla.org.

Ziegfelds/Secrets (1824 Half St., S.W.) hosts its Easter celebration “Bears ‘n Bunnies” tonight from 8 p.m.-3 a.m. Doors open with no cover from 8-10 p.m. There will be a free buffet, draft beer specials and shot drink specials. For more information, visit secretsdc.com.

Saturday, April 19

Team D.C. hosts “Casino Night” at Buffalo Billiards (1330 19th St., N.W.) tonight from 8-11:45 p.m. Play poker, blackjack and craps with dealers from local LGBT sports teams. No cover charge. Receive $100 in chips for $10 or $250 in chips for $20. Chips can be redeemed at the end for raffle entries for prizes. Proceeds go to participating LGBT sports teams. For more details, visit teamdc.org.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, led by gay choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess, debuts “Dancing the Dream,” an exploration between dance and modern American identity, at the National Portrait Gallery (8th and F Streets N.W.) today at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more details, visit npg.si.edu.

DJ Hector Fonseca plays at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Drinks are $3 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.

Special Agent Galactica brings her cabaret performance with guitarist Peter Fields to Jay’s On Read (225 W Read St., Baltimore) tonight at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit pinkhairedone.com.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Lantern Ct., N.W.) hosts “Bears Can Dance: Bunny Ears Easter Edition” at 9 p.m. tonight. There is no cover charge. Free bunny ears will be given to the first 50 guests to arrive. For more details, visit greenlanterndc.com.

Sunday, April 20

JR.’s Bar (1519 17th St., N.W.) holds an Easter bonnet contest tonight at 7 p.m. Grand prize is $250. There will be $3 Coors Lights and $3 Skyy vodka. For more details.

The Mansion on O Street (2020 O St., N.W.) holds an Easter brunch and tour today from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Brunch includes omelets, waffles, chocolate-covered bacon and more. The brunch includes a self-guided tour of the 100-room mansion. There will also be prizes for best Easter bonnet and decorated egg. Admission is $75 per person. Kids ages 5-11 are half price and kids under 5 are free.

Monday, April 21

The 30th annual Helen Hayes Awards is at the National Building Museum (401 F St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. The awards honor the best in Washington theater. Tickets start at $150 and include a buffet. For more information, visit theatrewashinton.org.

Tuesday, April 22

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.

Wednesday, April 23

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.

GALA Theatre (3333 14th St., N.W.) presents a pre-show performance of “Living Out” at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $20 for VIP admission and $50 for three VIP admissions. VIP admissions include a complimentary drink. All proceeds benefit Casa Ruby, a multicultural resource center that provides a drop-in center for LGBT individuals to discuss their sexual identity in a safe space. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, April 24

Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets hosts its annual “Spring Fling: Silent Auction and Buffet Dinner” at the Washington Hilton Hotel (1919 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) tonight from 6-9 p.m. There will also be a live jazz band. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit dupontcircle.biz.

Taste of Pride holds an oil and vinegar tasting at Sapore Oil and Vinegar (660 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.) today from 7-10 p.m. Learn about different oils and vinegars and different pairings for them such as bread and jam. Tickets are $30. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit capitalpride.org/taste.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Movies

New music documentary is ‘Velvet’ perfection

A piece of pure cinema that exemplifies its genre while transcending it

Published

on

The Velvet Underground (Photo courtesy of Apple TV)

When it comes to great music documentaries – the ones that stick with you after you watch and make you want to come back to them again and again – there is one ingredient that stands out as a common thread: immediacy.

From D.A. Pennebaker’s fly-on-the-wall chronicle of young Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of the UK in “Don’t Look Back,” to Martin Scorcese’s joyful document of The Band’s final concert performance in “The Last Waltz,” to Jonathan Demme’s thrilling cinematic rendering of the Talking Heads in performance at the peak of their creative genius in “Stop Making Sense,” all of these now-revered films have endured – indeed, even grown – in popularity over the years because they captured the talent, the personality, and the power of their subjects on celluloid and preserved it for the ages, allowing generations of audiences, fans and soon-to-be-fans alike, to feel as if they were there.

But none, perhaps, have ever done it quite so viscerally as Todd Haynes’ “The Velvet Underground.” This is a remarkable feat when you consider that the films listed above, as well as most of the other highly regarded “rockumentaries” of the past, were all concert films, showing the performers at their center in the full bloom of their musical gifts, and Haynes’ film is not that. It’s something else, something singular, a piece of pure cinema that exemplifies its genre while transcending it entirely.

The basic outline of the band’s story is well known, now. Coalesced in the early ‘60s New York art scene around a pair of charismatic geniuses (John Cale and Lou Reed), the Velvet Underground was swept into the orbit and under the wing of Andy Warhol, who turned them into the house band at his famous “Factory,” added to their mix an exotic European chanteuse named Nico, and launched their record career by producing their first album – and designing an instantly iconic cover for it featuring a banana, to boot. They were, for a while, the darlings of the New York underground set, birthing a handful of additional albums across the latter years of the decade; but their sound, which was experimental, rough, and a far cry from the flower-power sound being embraced within the status quo of Middle American music fans, did not catch on. That, combined with the volatility of the relationships at its core, ensured an ignoble and unsung dissolution for the band; though its two front men went on to forge expansive solo careers on their own, the Velvets themselves remained a kind of blip, an ephemeral presence in the history of rock – and the history of New York – remembered by anyone who wasn’t actually on the scene as nothing more than a buzzy band they never actually heard with a catchy name and a familiar album cover.

As one of the voice-over interviewees in Haynes’ movie points out, however, the counterculture wasn’t actually the counterculture – it was the culture. The rest of the world just didn’t know it yet. Decades later the Velvet Underground is credited with, among other things, providing early inspiration for what would become the punk rock movement, to say nothing of influencing the aesthetic palate of (surely without exaggeration) thousands of musicians who would go on to make great music themselves – often sounding nothing like the Velvets, but somehow cut from the same raw, edgy, white-hot honest cloth, nonetheless. Yet in their moment, they were doomed before they had even begun to become a sideshow attraction, hurling performative realness in the face of a curious-but-disinterested glitterati crowd that was already embodying the superficial fakeness that would be so aptly monikered, both as an ethos and a watchword, as “Plastics” by Buck Henry and Mike Nichols in “The Graduate” barely a year after their first album was pressed.

Frankly, it’s the kind of story that makes for a perfect rock ‘n roll legend, and the kind of legend that deserves to be explored in a film that befits its almost mythic, archetypal underpinnings. There’s nobody more qualified to deliver that film than Todd Haynes.

Haynes, of course, is a pioneer of the ‘90s “New Queer Cinema,” whose body of work has maintained a consistent yet multi-faceted focus on key themes that include outsider-ism, dysfunctional socialization, and the fluid nature of sexuality and gender. Each and any of these interests would be enough to make him a perfect fit as the person to tell the story of the Velvet Underground, but what gives him the ability to make it a masterpiece is his ongoing fascination with music and nostalgia. Beginning with his controversial debut short “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story,” the musical landscape of his formative years has been inseparable from his milieu, and films such as his glam-rock fantasia “Velvet Goldmine” or his post-modernist Dylan biopic “I’m Not There” have dotted his career like cornerstones. Likewise, his painstaking recreation of the past in period pieces like “Far From Heaven,” “Carol,” or “Wonderstruck” has proven his ability not just to capture the look and feel of a bygone era, but to transport audiences right back into it.

In “The Velvet Underground,” it’s more like he transports the era to the audience. His comprehensive chronicle is not just the story of the band or its members, but the story of the time and place that allowed them to exist, in which a generation waking up from the toxic artificiality of their parents’ “American Dream” took creative control of the future through an unprecedented explosion of art and culture. Art was a by-any-means-necessary endeavor that now demanded a fluency across various forms of media, and a blending together of any and every thing that worked to get the message across. And yes, sometimes the media itself was the message, but even within that depressingly superficial reality was room for an infinite layering of style and substance that could take your breath away.

That description of the era in which the Velvet Underground thrived, in which Andy Warhol turned the shallow into the profound (whether he knew it or not), in which music and film and photography and poetry and painting and every other form of expression blended together in a heady and world-changing whirlwind, is also the perfect description of Haynes’ film. Yes, there are famous veterans of the age sharing their memories and their insights, yes there is copious archival footage (including the godsend of Warhol’s filmed portraits of the legendary faces in his orbit), yes we get to hear about Lou Reed’s struggle with his sexual identity – and it’s refreshing that Haynes makes no effort to categorize or finalize that aspect of the rock legend’s persona, but merely lets it be a fact. But even though “The Velvet Underground” checks off all the boxes to be a documentary, it’s something much more. Thanks to Haynes’ seamless blend of visuals, words, history, and – always and above all – music, it’s a total sensory experience, which deserves to be seen in a theater whether you subscribe to Apple TV or not. It puts you right in the middle of a world that still casts a huge shadow on our culture today.

And it’s unforgettable.

Continue Reading

Photos

PHOTOS: Best Of LGBTQ DC party

Blade’s 20th annual awards celebrated at Hook Hall

Published

on

Cake performs at the Best of LGBTQ D.C. Awards Party on Oct. 21. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Washington Blade presented the 20th annual Best of LGBTQ D.C. Awards at a party at Hook Hall on Thursday, Oct. 21. To view this year’s winners, click here.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

Continue Reading

Arts & Entertainment

First Trans Amazon introduced by DC Comics In ‘Wonder Woman’

DC Comics-Warner Brothers became more LGBTQ+ inclusive with the introduction of the character of Bia, a Black trans woman

Published

on

Courtesy of DC Comics-Warner Brothers

BURBANK – The world of DC Comics-Warner Brothers became more LGBTQ+ inclusive this weekend as the venerable comic book franchise of Wonder Woman expanded with the introduction of the character of Bia, a Black trans woman, in the first issue of the series Nubia & The Amazons.

Earlier this month on National Coming Out Day, the canon of the Superman series changed for the life of Jon Kent, the Superman of Earth and son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, taking a bold new direction. After initially striking up a friendship with reporter Jay Nakamura, he and Jon become romantically involved, making Kent an Out bisexual character.

In this latest offering, Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala, writers and creators confirmed that Bia is a Black Trans woman. They stressed that she “isn’t a box to tick … [she] is important to her community. Just as Black trans women are important to us in real life.” 

Of special significance to the introduction of the character in the DC Comic worlds was the endorsement of actress Lynda Carter who played the title role of Wonder Woman on television based on the comic book superheroine, which aired on ABC and later on CBS from 1975 to 1979. Earlier in the week Carter tweeted her support of Trans women;

Writing for the DC Comics-Warner Brothers website blog, co-creator Stephanie Williams said;

It’s been a dream to work with the likes of Vita Ayala, a non-binary Afro-Latinx comic writer who has been making quite a name for themselves. And then there is the illustrious and widely talented and dedicated Afro-Latina artist Alitha Martinez who is already in the comic hall of fame for all-time greats. Her passion for Nubia is unmatched. It shows in every cover and panel from Nubia’s Future State story written by L.L. McKinney, her Infinite Frontier #0 story written by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, and now the Nubia and the Amazons miniseries written by myself and Vita Ayala.”

Courtesy of DC Comics-Warner Brothers

I’m so excited about the history we’re creating, adding to, and remixing. The foundation has always been there, but needed some TLC. As Nubia embarks on this new journey as Queen of Themyscira, I hope her rebirth will be met with open arms and the desire to keep her always at the forefront. Nubia, now being queen, is poetic in so many ways, but one that stays on my mind is the very personal connection I feel. As I help to add to her legacy, she’s opened the door wider to my own,” Williams said adding:

Long may Queen Nubia reign, forever and always.”

Nubia and the Amazons #1 by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala and Alitha Martinez is now available in print and as a digital comic book.

Along with co-writing Nubia and the Amazons, Stephanie Williams writes about comics, TV and movies for DCComics.com. Check out more of her work on Den of Geek, What To Watch, Nerdist and SYFY Wire and be sure to follow her on both Twitter and Instagram at @steph_I_will.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular