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‘Dog Day’ docs

Several LGBT themes explored in this year’s films



AFI Docs, gay news, Washington Blade
AFI Docs, gay news, Washington Blade

A still from ‘The Dog,’ a documentary that explores the life of John Wojtowicz, portrayed by Al Painco in the 1975 film ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ (Photo courtesy AFI Docs)

The inspiring true story behind “Dog Day Afternoon,” a look at Greg Louganis’ life now, a con man who marries his partner in Washington — all are explored in documentaries slated for AFI Docs in the coming days.

This annual documentary film festival starts Wednesday and runs through June 22 at various venues in the D.C. area with screenings of several LGBT-themed films. Individual ticket prices range from $11-14. Tickets for the opening night screening and reception are $75.

The documentary film festival will screen 50 feature films and 21 short films. Four films are world premieres, two U.S. premieres and several East Coast premieres. The five-day festival is a popular event in the D.C. area with approximately 19,000 attendees last year. Full details on tickets, screen times and more are at

One of these 50 feature films screening is “The Dog,” directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren. The piece delves into the true events of the classic 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon,” which tells the story of John Wojtowicz, a man who robs a bank to pay for his partner’s sexual reassignment surgery.

The documentary interviews the real-life John Wojtowicz, played by Al Pacino in the 1975 film, and uses archival footage to capture New York City’s LGBT liberation movement of the 1970s. It screens Thursday at 3:45 p.m. and June 22 at 9 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md.).

“We call this film a fucked up Forrest Gump story,” Berg says. “Wojtowicz is even more outrageous than the character Al Pacino played.”

Berg and Keraundren believe the documentary both examines Wojtowicz as a person and looks at America’s culture in the 1960s and 1970s in a different way.

“We truly unearthed footage that no one had seen,” Keraundren says. “We wanted to put this story in context. What we found was extraordinary.”

Berg and Keraundren say they didn’t begin making the documentary with a particular topic in mind. However, after meeting Wojtowicz in person they realized they had found something special.

“He was larger than life the second we met him,” Keraundren says. “The human aspect drew us in. It spoke to us and we thought it would speak to other people.”

Andrea Passafiume, festival programmer, thinks documentaries speak to people because of the human aspect.

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” Passafiume says. “It’s simple, compelling storytelling. Documentaries aren’t filled with special effects and CGI storytelling. It’s a simple human moment.”

“Back on Board,” another film on the schedule, tells the story of Olympic athlete Greg Louganis, the first male athlete to win diving events in consecutive Olympic games. Along with his Olympic career, Louganis is also gay and the film chronicles his private life, including his marriage to his partner. The film screens June 20 at 4:45 p.m. in the Portrait Gallery (8th and F streets, N.W.) and June 21 at 1:45 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre.

“An Honest Liar” documents illusionist James “The Amazin” Randi and how he mastered the art of illusion to entertain audiences and now uses his knowledge to expose con artists and psychics. The film also follows Randi as he marries his longtime partner in Washington. It screens June 20 at 4:30 p.m. in Goethe-Institut (812 7th St., N.W.) and June 21 at 9:30 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre.

Having a group of LGBT-themed documentaries to screen is something Passafiume says she likes to include.

“It makes me happy to have some LGBT films. I look at the program and say, ’Is this balanced?’ But there are a couple films where it’s not the primary theme.”

“112 Weddings” is one such film. It follows a filmmaker as he checks in with various married couples whose weddings he filmed over the years. One couple is lesbian.

Passafiume says films aren’t chosen specifically because they need to have a certain number of types or subjects in one category. She says thought-provoking and entertaining are the key elements she looks for.

“We select anything that has a way of telling a story in a different way that we haven’t heard before,” Passafiume says. “Marriage equality is a very topical thing. Greg (Louganis) has done incredible things as an athlete. But what happens after that?”

Berg says documentaries offer something that narrative film doesn’t — storytelling that’s real and hasn’t been dramatized.

“There are some things you just can’t make up.”


Out & About

Mayor’s office to host Pride tie-dye party

Guests to make colorful shirts for ‘PEACE. LOVE. REVOLUTION’ theme



(Photo by Prime Look/Bigstock)

The Mayor’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs will host “Love Out Loud: Tie Dye Party for Pride” on Wednesday, June 7 at 5 p.m. at the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs.

The event, hosted along with the DC Center for the LGBT Community and Capital Pride Alliance, will be an afternoon for community and artistry. Guests are encouraged to bring their creativity to make some colorful tie-dye shirts in line with this year’s Pride theme, “PEACE. LOVE. REVOLUTION.”

This event is free to attend and more details are available on Eventbrite

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Out & About

D.C. to celebrate LGBTQ poetry

Pride Poem-a-Day presents second installation



(Screen capture via Vimeo)

DC Pride Poem-a-Day will present its second installation of short videos featuring LGBTQ poetry from the Washington, D.C. area to celebrate Pride month.

A new video will be released each day in June and will feature different poets reading an original poem on the theme of “heritage.”

The videos highlight LGBTQ poets from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, races, and countries of origin, and also poets from minority religions, multi-lingual, and disabled. 
To access the poetry, visit DC Pride Poems’ website.

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Calendar: June 2-8

LGBTQ events in the days to come



Friday, June 2

Center Aging: Friday Tea Time will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This event is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests can bring a beverage of choice. For more information, contact [email protected].

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Pride Kickoff Social” at 7 p.m. at The Commentary. This event is ideal to make new friends in the LGBTQ community and enjoy the bottomless happy hour specials at Puro Gusto. Admission is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, June 3

Virtual Yoga Class with Jesse Z. will be at 12 p.m. online. This is a weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. Guests are encouraged to RSVP on the DC Center’s website, providing your name, email address, and zip code, along with any questions you may have. A link to the event will be sent at 6 pm the day before.

LGBTQ People of Color Support Group will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. LGBTQ People of Color can come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. There are all sorts of activities like watching movies, poetry events, storytelling, and just hanging out with others. For more details, visit or

Project DC Events will host “DC Pride Crawl” at 2 p.m. at Dupont Circle’s best bars. Guests are encouraged to put on their brightest and most colorful outfit, grab friends, and enjoy a day of drinks and celebration. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

Sunday, June 4

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.

“Largest LGBTQIA+ Singles Flamingle” will be at 7 p.m. at THRoW Social DC. Guests can enjoy signature cocktail and wine specials, food, games, and live music while mingling with single people in the local LGBTQ community. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Monday, June 5

Center Aging Monday Coffee and Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. LGBT Older Adults — and friends — are invited to enjoy friendly conversations and to discuss any issues you might be dealing with. For more information, visit the Center Aging’s Facebook or Twitter.

Capital Pride Interfaith Service Planning Meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. The Capital Pride Interfaith Service is an “integrated service” respectfully demonstrating the breadth, depth, and sincerity of our faith, exposing the lie that anti-gay fundamentalists have a monopoly on faith and religion. For more details, [email protected]

Tuesday, June 6

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Pride Reception” at 5 p.m. at Turkish Coffee Lady. This event is to foster cross-cultural connectedness and make friends in the LGBTQ+ and allied community. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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

Wednesday, June 7

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

Center Aging Women’s Social & Discussion Group will be at 6:00p.m. on Zoom. This group is a place where older LGBTQ+ women can meet and socialize with one another. To register, visit the DC Center’s website

Thursday, June 8

KINETIC Presents will host “KINETIC Pride 2023 DC Weekend Pass” at 10 p.m. at four D.C. venues. This partnership with Capital Pride Alliance will feature a performance by global pop star Betty Who at Echostage, stunning visuals, and top talent. Tickets start at $149 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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