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Calendar: April 18-24

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

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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.

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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.

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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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