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Sights and sounds of SUMMER!

No shortage of gay action in D.C. in July and August

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Summer, gay news, Washington Blade
Summer, gay news, Washington Blade

Neon Trees are here next week for two shows in the region. (Photo by Mathew Hartman)

The 29th annual ADODI summer retreat for black “same-gender-loving” men is July 15-19 at Cacapon Resort State Park in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Cost is $575. Details at adodi.org. The group has a local chapter that’s active in Washington and meets bi-monthly at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington.

Idina Menzel plays Jiffy Lube Live (7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow, Va.) at 8 p.m. on July 18. Tickets range from $25-270. Details at livenation.com.

Neon Trees, with out lead singer Tyler Glenn, play Rams Head Live! (20 Market Place, Baltimore) at 7 p.m. on July 18 and the 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) at 7 p.m. (doors) on July 20. COIN and Fictionist open. Tickets are $25 for each show. Details at ramsheadlive.com and 930.com respectively.

Out singer Derek Bishop plays Tree House Lounge (1006 Florida Ave., N.E.) at 10 p.m. on July 18. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door only. He’s touring his new album “Bicycling in Quicksand.”

Gay Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Ryan Amador plays a benefit concert for Casa Ruby at Brookland Artspace Lofts (3305 8th St. N.E.) at 7:30 p.m. on July 20. Admission is free but donations are requested. Half of the money given will go to Casa Ruby. E-mail to [email protected] for information.

Summer, gay news, Washington Blade

Ryan Amador plays a benefit show for Casa Ruby July 20. (Photo courtesy Amador)

Shania Twain brings her “Rock This Country Tour” to the Verizon Center at 7:30 p.m. on July 21. Tickets range from $50-150 and are available through ticketmaster.com. The tour, her first in 11 years, is billed as a farewell tour.

Gay-affirming pastor and author Rob Bell brings his “Everything is Spiritual Tour” to the Fillmore Silver Spring (8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.) at 8:30 p.m. on July 22. Tickets are $25-35 and are available at fillmoresilverspring.com.

Grammy-winning gay singer Sam Smith plays Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md.) at 8 p.m. on July 24. Tickets are $45-97.50. Details at merriweathermusic.com.

Baltimore Pride is July 24-26. The parade and block party are on Saturday (July 25) and the festival is on Sunday (July 26). A bevy of other events are planned as well as the festivity celebrates its 40th anniversary. Full details at baltimorepride.org.

D.C. Log Cabin Republicans have their 14th annual Rehoboth Beach Retreat July 24-26.

Well Strung, an all-male string quartet that plays classical and pop, plays the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center (229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.) at 8 p.m. on July 25. This CAMP Rehoboth event is part of a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary. Tickets are $35-100. Details at camprehoboth.com.

The Indigo Girls, long-time out folk-rockers, play the Filene Center at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) at 8 p.m. on July 28. Michelle Malone opens. Tickets are $32-54. Details at wolftrap.org.

The fifth annual OutWrite LGBT Book Fair, a weekend of readings, discussions, author appearances and more, is July 30-Aug. 1 at the Reeves Center, home of the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W. #105). The Center also has constant events all summer long including coffee and conversation for older LGBT adults, volunteer nights, FUK!T packing parties (packing safer-sex kits), workshops, support groups, HIV texting and much more. Details at thedccenter.org.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett play the Kennedy Center (2700 F St. N.W.) at 8 p.m. July 31-Aug. 1 performing songs from their duet album of jazz standards “Cheek to Cheek.” Tickets are sold out.

It’s shaping up to be an uber-gay summer at Wolf Trap. Out singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright performs with the National Symphony Orchestra at 8:15 p.m. on July 31 at the Filene Center (1551 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.). Tickets are $25-58 for the two-and-a-half-hour show. Out author and comedian David Sedaris performs at 7 p.m. on Aug. 2. Tickets are $25-55. And Culture Club plays at 8 p.m. Aug. 10. Tickets are $30-60.  Other Wolf Trap shows coming soon include Abba the Concert on Aug. 16, Kristin Chenoweth on Aug. 28 and Kelly Clarkson on Sept. 12-13. Details at wolftrap.org.

Melissa Etheridge performs a solo show behind her “This is M.E.” album at 8 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.). Tickets are $45-85. Details at strathmore.org.

Reel Affirmations, an LGBT film festival, returns Aug. 28-30 at the Tivoli/GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th St., N.W.). Festival passes are available in a variety of packages ranging from $20-265. Visit reelaffirmations.org for lineup and details.

In other gay film festival news, DIRECTV and the Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival have launched Outfest Online (outfestonline.com) where content from the festival will be available for viewing anywhere. The festival continues through July 19 and features a variety of shorts, documentaries and features with LGBT themes.

The Strathmore continues its free summer outdoor concerts every Wednesday at 7 p.m. through Aug. 19. Upcoming performers are Team Familiar on July 15, No BS! Brass Band on July 22, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen on July 20 and more. These are held at the Mansion at Strathmore in the Gudelsky Outdoor Concert Gazebo (10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Md.).

The Kennedy Center continues its free concert series on the Millennium Stage with daily performances at 6 p.m. Performers this month include youth participants in the 2015 NSO Summer Music Institute, the WNO Opera Institute and performers from the 25/40 Celebration, a festival in honor of the 25th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act. Now in its 17th year, the Millennium Stage performances are also available to be viewed online. Details at kennedy-center.org.

The Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) continues its Georgetown Sunset Cinema series on Tuesdays through Aug. 4. The films are shown at the Georgetown Waterfront Park at the intersection of K/Water Street and Cecil Place, N.W. Admission is free. Blankets only (no chairs). Picnics welcome. Upcoming films include “State of Play” on July 14, “No Way Out” on July 21, “Burn After Reading” on July 28 and more. Details at georgetowndc.com/sunsetcinema.

Rosa Mexicano (575 7th St., N.W.) holds its annual Ice Cream Festival through the end of July. Flavors of Mexico a la Mode features desserts inspired by classic Mexican dishes paired with handmade ice creams infused with Mexican flavors such as “prickly pear-blueberry sorbet” and “cinnamon-chili spiced chocolate. Details at rosamexicano.com.

Waverly Street Gallery (4600 East-West highway, Bethesda, Md.) features an exhibit called “Benthos” by Nikki O’Neill featuring discoveries and marine habitats in glass. Her work is inspired by evolutionary themes such as the watery, primordial origins of life and the intricate and richly colored primitive creatures that live there — all displayed in glass figures she manipulates with heat, gravity, gas and more. An opening reception is this evening (July 10) from 6-9 p.m. An artist talk is July 18 from 3-5 p.m. Details at waverlystreetgallery.com.

Summer, gay news, Washington Blade

Nikki O’Neill explores primordial life in her series on display now at Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda. (Photo courtesy WSG)

Inner Light Ministries under the leadership of gay pastor Bishop Kwabena Cheeks, continues its 22nd anniversary celebration through this weekend (July 12). Details at innerlightministries-dc.com.

The Al Sura White Attire Affair is at 8 p.m. on July 18 at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage (1816 12th St., N.W.). Tickets are $35 in advance or $50 at the door. Details at alsura.org.

Ingenue to Icon,” an exhibit featuring 70 years of fashion from the collection of legendary socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, is on display now and through years’ end at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden (4155 Linnean Ave., N.W.). Hillwood also has its French Festival July 11. Details at hillwoodmuseum.org.

The Ask Rayceen Show has its August taping on Aug. 5 at LIV Nightclub (2001 11th St., N.W.) with doors opening at 6 p.m. The August installment will feature a poetry slam with $100 cash prize, listening lounge with Nia Simmons, DJ Honey and more. Details on the Ask Rayceen page on Facebook.

The D.C. Metro Circle of Friends (part of the National Friendship Movement) hosts its second annual picnic in the park from noon-dusk on Aug. 15 at picnic area no. six in Rock Creek Park. Find the group on Facebook for details.

The Night OUT series continues with Night OUT at the Kastles on July 16, Night OUT at the Mystics on Aug. 5. Details at teamdc.org.

Itching to shop? Gay-owned furniture and home decor shop Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams (1526 14th St., N.W.) has its summer tag sale with 20-60 percent off through July 26. More at mgbwhome.com.

And lest September sneak up on you, mark these events now: Brother Help Thyself Pride Day at King’s Dominion (Sept. 5) and the D.C. Shorts Film Festival (Sept. 10-20). Saturday, Sept. 12 is shaping up to be jam-packed with Imperial Court Gala of the Americas, Richmond Pride and the 17th Street Festival. Oh, and Madonna’s here that day too.

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Rodriquez scores historic win at otherwise irrelevant Golden Globes

Award represents a major milestone for trans visibility

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Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, on right, and Billy Porter in 'Pose.' (Photo courtesy of FX)

HOLLYWOOD – Despite its continuing status as something of a pariah organization in Hollywood, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has managed to cling to relevance in the wake of last night’s behind-closed-doors presentation of its 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards by sole virtue of having bestowed the prize for “Best Leading Actress in a Television Series – Drama” on Michaela Jaé Rodriguez for her work in the final season of “Pose” – making her the first transgender performer to win a Golden Globe.

The ceremony took place as a private, no-press-or-audience event in which winners were revealed via a series of tweets from the Golden Globes Twitter account. No celebrities were present (not even the nominees or winners), although actress Jamie Lee Curtis participated by appearing in a video in which she pronounced her continuing loyalty to the HFPA – without mention of the  longstanding issues around diversity and ethical practices, revealed early in 2021 by a bombshell Los Angeles Times report, that have led to an nearly industry-wide boycott of the organization and its awards as well as the cancellation of the annual Golden Globes broadcast by NBC for the foreseeable future.

While the Golden Globes may have lost their luster for the time being, the award for Rodriquez represents a major milestone for trans visibility and inclusion in the traditionally transphobic entertainment industry, and for her part, the actress responded to news of her win with characteristic grace and good will.

Posting on her Instagram account, the 31-year old actress said: 

“OMG OMGGG!!!! @goldenglobes Wow! You talking about sickening birthday present! Thank you!

“This is the door that is going to Open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS.

“To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!”

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As You Are Bar and the importance of queer gathering spaces

New bar/restaurant poised to open in 2022

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As You Are Bar had a pop-up venue at Capital Pride's "Colorful Fest" block party in October. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than just a watering hole: As You Are Bar is set to be the city’s newest queer gathering place where patrons can spill tea over late-morning cappuccinos as easily as they can over late-night vodka-sodas.

Co-owners and founders Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike built on their extensive experience in the hospitality industry – including stints at several gay bars – to sign a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row, replacing what was previously District Soul Food and Banana Café. In a prime corner spot, they are seeking to bring together the disparate colors of the LGBTQ rainbow – but first must navigate the approval process (more on that later).

The duo decided on this Southeast neighborhood locale to increase accessibility for “the marginalized parts of our community,” they say, “bringing out the intersectionality inherent in the queer space.”

Northwest D.C., they explain, not only already has many gay bar options, but is also more difficult to get to for those who don’t live within walking distance. The Barracks Row location is right by a Metro stop, “reducing pay walls.” Plus, there, “we are able to find a neighborhood to bring in a queer presence that doesn’t exist today.”

McDaniel points out that the area has a deep queer bar history. Western bar Remington’s was once located in the area, and it’s a mere block from the former Phase 1, the longest-running lesbian bar, which was open from 1971-2015.

McDaniel and Pike hope that As You Are Bar will be an inclusive space that “welcomes anyone of any walk of life that will support, love, and celebrate the mission of queer culture. We want people of all ages, gender, sexual identity, as well as drinkers and non-drinkers, to have space.”

McDaniel (she/her) began her career at Apex in 2005 and was most recently the opening manager of ALOHO. Pike (she/they) was behind the bar and worked as security at ALOHO, where the two met.

Since leaving ALOHO earlier this year, they have pursued the As You Are Bar project, first by hosting virtual events during the pandemic, and now in this brick-and-mortar space. They expressed concern that receiving the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) liquor license approval and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, or ANC, approval will be a long and expensive process.

They have already received notice that some neighbors intend to protest As You Are Bar’s application for the “tavern” liquor license that ABRA grants to serve alcohol and allow for live entertainment (e.g. drag shows). They applied for the license on Nov. 12, and have no anticipated opening date, estimating at least six months. If ABRA and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board give final approval, the local ANC 6B and nearby residents can no longer protest the license until the license comes up for renewal.

Until approval is given, they continue physical buildout (including soundproofing) and planning their offerings. If the license is approved, ABRA and the ABC Board can take action against As You Are Bar, like any bar, at any time if they violate the terms of the license or create a neighborhood disturbance that violates city laws such as the local noise ordinance.  In the kitchen, the duo snagged Chef Nina Love to develop the menu. Love will oversee café-style fare; look out for breakfast sandwiches making an appearance all the way until close. They will also have baked goods during the day.

McDaniel and Pike themselves will craft the bar menu. Importantly, they note, the coffee bar will also serve until close. There will be a full bar as well as a list of zero-proof cocktails. As with their sourcing, they hope to work with queer-, minority-, and women-owned businesses for everything not made in-house.

Flexible conceptually, they seek to grow with their customer base, allowing patrons to create the culture that they seek.

Their goal is to move the queer space away from a focus on alcohol consumption. From book clubs, to letter-writing, to shared workspaces, to dance parties, they seek an all-day, morning-to-night rhythm of youth, families, and adults to find a niche. “We want to shift the narrative of a furtive, secretive, dark gay space and hold it up to the light,” they say. “It’s a little like The Planet from the original L Word show,” they joke.

Pike notes that they plan on working closely with SMYAL, for example, to promote programming for youth. Weekend potential activities include lunch-and-learn sessions on Saturdays and festive Sunday brunches.

The café space, to be located on the first floor, will have coffeehouse-style sofas as well as workstations. A slim patio on 8th Street will hold about six tables.

Even as other queer bars have closed, they reinforce that the need is still present. “Yes, we can visit a café or bar, but we always need to have a place where we are 100 percent certain that we are safe, and that our security is paramount. Even as queer acceptance continues to grow, a dedicated queer space will always be necessary,” they say.

To get there, they continue to rally support of friends, neighbors, and leaders in ANC6B district; the ANC6B officials butted heads with District Soul Food, the previous restaurant in the space, over late-night noise and other complaints. McDaniel and Pike hope that once nearby residents and businesses understand the important contribution that As You Are Bar can make to the neighborhood, they will extend their support and allow the bar to open.

AYA, gay news, Washington Blade
Rachel Pike and Jo McDaniel signed a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row. (Photo courtesy Pike and McDaniel)
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Need a list-minute gift idea?

Books, non-profit donations make thoughtful choices

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‘Yes, Daddy’ by Jonathan Parks-Ramage is the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older man.

You knew this was coming.

You knew that you were going to have to finish your holiday shopping soon but it snuck up on you, didn’t it? And even if you’re close to being done, there are always those three or five people who are impossible to buy for, right? Remember this, though: books are easy to wrap and easy to give, and they last a while, too. So why not head to the bookstore with your Christmas List and look for these gifts.

And if you still have people to shop for, why not make a donation to a local non-profit in their name? A list of D.C.-area suggestions follows.

BOOKS: NONFICTION

If there’s about to be a new addition to your family, wrapping up “Queer Stepfamilies: The path to Social and Legal Recognition” by Katie L. Acosta would be a good thing. In this book, the author followed forty LGBTQ families to understand the joys, pitfalls, and legalities of forming a new union together. It can’t replace a lawyer, but it’s a good overview.

For the parent who wants to ensure that their child grows up with a lack of bias, “Raising LGBTQ Allies” by Chris Tompkins is a great book to give. It’s filled with methods to stop bullying in its tracks, to be proactive in having That Conversation, and how to be sure that the next generation you’re responsible for becomes responsible in turn. Wrap it up with “The Healing Otherness Handbook” by Stacee L. Reicherzer, Ph.D., a book that helps readers to deal with bullying by finding confidence and empowerment.

If there’s someone on your gift list who’s determined to get “fit” in the coming year, then give “The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel this holiday. Told in graphic-novel format (comics, basically), it’s the story of searching for self-improvement and finding it in a surprising place.

So why not give a little nostalgia this year by wrapping up “A Night at the Sweet Gum Head” by Martin Padgett? It’s the tale of disco, drag, and drugs in the 1970s (of course!) in Atlanta, with appearances by activists, politics, and people who were there at that fabulous time. Wrap it up with “After Francesco” by Brian Malloy, a novel set a little later – in the mid-1980s in New York City and Minneapolis at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

The LGBTQ activist on your gift list will want to read “The Case for Gay Reparations” by Omar G. Encarnacion. It’s a book about acknowledgment, obligation on the part of cis citizens, and fixing the pain that homophobia and violence has caused. Wrap it up with “Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender” by Stef M. Shuster, a look at trans history that may also make your giftee growl.

FICTION

Young readers who have recently transitioned will enjoy reading “Both Sides Now” by Peyton Thomas. It’s a novel about a high school boy with gigantic dreams and the means to accomplish them all. Can he overcome the barriers that life gives him? It’s debatable… Pair it with “Can’t Take That Away” by Steven Salvatore, a book about two nonbinary students and the troubles they face as they fall in love.

The thriller fan on your list will be overjoyed to unwrap “Yes, Daddy” by Jonathan Parks-Ramage. It’s the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older, more accomplished man with the hopes of sparking his failing career. But the older man isn’t who the younger thinks he is, and that’s not good. Wrap it up with “Lies with Man” by Michael Nava, a book about a lawyer who agrees to be counsel for a group of activists. Good so far, right? Until one of them is accused of being involved in a deadly bombing.

For the fan of Southern fiction, you can’t go wrong when you wrap up “The Tender Grave” by Sheri Reynolds. It’s the tale of two sisters, one homophobic, the other lesbian, and how they learn to forgive and re-connect.

NON-PROFIT GIVING

Like nonprofit organizations throughout the country, D.C.-area LGBTQ supportive nonprofit groups have told the Blade they continue to rebuild amid the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted their fundraising efforts while increasing expenses, at least in part by prompting more people to come to them for help.

This holiday season, if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift, consider making a donation to one of our local LGBTQ non-profit organizations in someone else’s name. This list is by no means exhaustive, but a good place to start your research.

Contributions to the LGBTQ supportive nonprofit organizations can be made via the websites of these local organizations:

• Blade Foundation, which funds local scholarships and fellowships for queer student journalists, bladefoundation.org

• DC Center, our local community center that operates a wide range of programming,  thedccenter.org/donate

Food & Friends, which delivers meals to homebound patients, foodandfriends.org

HIPS, which advances the health rights and dignity of those impacted by sex work and drugs, hips.org

• SMYAL, which advocates for queer youth, smyal.org

Wanda Alston Foundation, which offers shelter and support for LGBTQ youth, wandaalstonfoundation.org

• Whitman-Walker Health, the city’s longtime LGBTQ-inclusive health care provider, whitmanwalkerimpact.org

Casa Ruby, which provides shelter and services to youth in need, casaruby.org

• Us Helping Us, which helps improve the health of communities of color and works to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Black community, ushelpingus.org/donate

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