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FALL ARTS 2016: Events

D.C. gay scene crammed with fall events



events, gay news, Washington Blade

The D.C. gay scene is crammed with fall events. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key and Pete Exis)

Some events don’t fit in our other fall arts categories. Here are a few to note.

AGLA, a Northern Virginia-based nonprofit LGBT group, has brunch at Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 S. 23rd St., Arlington, Va.) on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The group also has a picnic planned immediately following at Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes St., Arlington, Va.). Bring something to grill. Details

The Team D.C. Night of Champions Awards Dinner is Saturday, Nov. 5 at Washington Hilton Hotel (1919 Connecticut Ave., N.W.). It starts with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. and the awards dinner at 7:30 p.m. Dress is business casual. Tickets are $100. Details at

events, gay news, Washington Blade

Team D.C. Night of Champions (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Team D.C. has its fall casino night on Saturday, Sept. 24. Details coming soon at

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Team D.C. Casino Night (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Pride Day at King’s Dominion is Saturday, Sept. 24 sponsored by Brother Help Thyself. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Details at

events, gay news, Washington Blade

Pride Day at King’s Dominion (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Up for a weekend getaway? The Miss’d America Pageant, a drag contest, is Sept. 24 at the Borgata Atlantic City hosted by Caron Kressley. Details at

events, gay news, Washington Blade

Miss’d America pageant (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Bisexual Pride Day is Friday, Sept. 23. No local events have been announced related to this.

National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Tuesday, Sept. 27. Details at or

Remington’s Reunion Show” will be held on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.). The event will be hosted by Tony Nelson and Maxine Blue. Details at

Rayceen’s Reading Room will be held on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St., N.W.) as a kickoff event for the library’s Banned Book Week. The event will include poetry, drama, book readings, author interviews and more. “The Ask Rayceen Show” continues its monthly installments on the first Wednesday of each month at the library in auditorium A5. Search for the show on Facebook for details.

Celebrating the Soul of Justice” will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ (3845 S. Capitol St., S.W.). It’s an annual worship service affirming black LGBT people of faith. Rev. Christine Wiley will preach. Details at

Northern Virginia Pride Festival is Saturday, Oct. 1 from noon-8 p.m. at the Bull Run Special Events Center in Centreville, Va. Details at

National Coming Out Day is Tuesday, Oct. 11. No local events have been announced.

CRACK presents “WERRRRRRK!” at Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St., N.W.) on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. Details at

Baltimore Black Pride will have its “Unsung Legends of Baltimore” event on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 8 p.m.-midnight at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center (847 N. Howard St., Baltimore). Call Lonnie Walker at 443-522-8553 to purchase tickets ($50 in advance; $60 at the door). Baltimore Black Pride runsOct. 13-16. Details at

The fifth annual Human Rights Campaign Chefs for Equality event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, West End (1150 22nd St., N.W.). Tickets are $200. Details at

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Chefs for Equality (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

No information yet, but the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club will likely hold its 40th annual Leadership Awards in mid-to-late October. Check soon for more information.

The Blade will hold its 15th annual Best of Gay D.C. Awards on Thursday, Oct. 20 at Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St., N.W.). Details pending.

Best of Gay D.C., gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

The Walk & 5k to End HIV, the 30th anniversary of AIDS Walk Washington, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12. Details at

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The Walk to End HIV (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 30th annual High Heel Race will be Tuesday, Oct. 25 on 17th Street. The event has its own Facebook page for details.

High Heel Race (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

High Heel Race (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Us Helping Us will hold “A Passion for Living: a Night of Celebratory Giving” on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 6-11 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom at the University of the District of Columbia (4200 Connecticut Ave., N.W.). Tickets are $125. Details at

The Dulles Triangles, a social group in Virginia, have its 25th anniversary gala on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 7 p.m.-midnight at the Spectacular Ballroom at Sheraton Tysons Hotel (8661 Leesburg Pike, Tysons, Va.). Tickets are $50 for members; $60 for guests. Details at

Trans Day of Remembrance is Sunday, Nov. 20. A service is usually held that evening at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington but details for this year’s service have not been announced yet. Check soon at or on Facebook.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)



New book explores why we categorize sports according to gender

You can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think



‘Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates’
By Katie Barnes
c.2023, St. Martin’s Press
$29/304 pages

The jump shot happened so quickly, so perfectly.

Your favorite player was in the air in a heartbeat, basketball in hand, wrist cocked. One flick and it was all swish, three points, just like that, and your team was ahead. So are you watching men’s basketball or women’s basketball? Or, as in the new book, “Fair Play” by Katie Barnes, should it really matter?

For sports fans, this may come as a surprise: we categorize sports according to gender.

Football, baseball, wresting: male sports. Gymnastics, volleyball: women’s sports. And yet, one weekend spent cruising around television shows you that those sports are enjoyed by both men and women – but we question the sexuality of athletes who dare (gasp!) to cross invisible lines for a sport they love.

How did sports “become a flash point for a broader conversation?”

Barnes takes readers back first to 1967, when Kathrine Switzer and Bobbi Gibb both ran in the Boston Marathon. It was the first time women had audaciously done so and while both finished the race, their efforts didn’t sit well with the men who made the rules.

“Thirty-seven words” changed the country in 1972 when Title IX was signed, which guaranteed there’d be no discrimination in extracurricular events, as long as “federal financial assistance” was taken. It guaranteed availability for sports participation for millions of girls in schools and colleges. It also “enshrine[d] protections for queer and transgender youth to access school sports.”

So why the debate about competition across gender lines?

First, says Barnes, we can’t change biology, or human bodies that contain both testosterone and estrogen, or that some athletes naturally have more of one or the other – all of which factor into the debate. We shouldn’t forget that women can and do compete with men in some sports, and they sometimes win. We shouldn’t ignore the presence of transgender men in sports.

What we should do, Barnes says, is to “write a new story. One that works better.”

Here are two facts: Nobody likes change. And everybody has an opinion.

Keep those two statements in mind when you read “Fair Play.” They’ll keep you calm in this debate, as will author Katie Barnes’ lack of flame fanning.

As a sports fan, an athlete, and someone who’s binary, Barnes makes things relatively even-keel in this book, which is a breath of fresh air in what’s generally ferociously contentious. There’s a good balance of science and social commentary here, and the many, many stories that Barnes shares are entertaining and informative, as well as illustrative. Readers will come away with a good understanding of where the debate lies.

But will this book make a difference?

Maybe. Much will depend on who reads and absorbs it. Barnes offers plenty to ponder but alas, you can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think. Still, if you’ve got skin in this particular bunch of games, find “Fair Play” and jump on it.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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An exciting revival of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre

Out actor Caesar Samayoa on portraying iconic role of President Perón



Caesar Samayoa (center) and the cast of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre Company. (Photo by DJ Corey Photography) 

Through Oct. 15
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Harman Hall
610 F St., N.W.

When Eva Perón died of cancer at 33 in 1952, the people’s reaction was so intense that Argentina literally ran out of cut flowers. Mourners were forced to fly in stems from neighboring countries, explains out actor Caesar Samayoa. 

For Samayoa, playing President Perón to Shireen Pimental’s First Lady Eva in director Sammi Cannold’s exciting revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at Shakespeare Theatre Company is a dream fulfilled. 

As a Guatemalan-American kid, he had a foot in two worlds. Samayoa lived and went to school in suburban Emerson, N.J. But he spent evenings working at his parents’ botanica in Spanish Harlem. 

During the drives back and forth in the family station wagon, he remembers listening to “Evita” on his cassette player: “It’s the first cast album I remember really hearing and understanding. I longed to be in the show.”

As an undergrad, he transferred from Bucknell University where he studied Japanese international relations to a drama major at Ithica College. His first professional gig was in 1997 playing Juliet in Joe Calarco’s off-Broadway “Shakespeare’s R&J.” Lots of Broadway work followed including “Sister Act,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” and most significantly, Samayoa says, “Come From Away,” a musical telling of the true story of airline passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. He played Kevin J. (one half of a gay couple) and Ali, a Muslim chef.  

He adds “Evita” has proved a powerful experience too: “We’re portraying a populist power couple that changed the trajectory of a country in a way most Americans can’t fully understand. And doing it in Washington surrounded by government and politics is extra exciting.” 

WASHINGTON BLADE: How do you tap into a real-life character like Perón?

CAESAR SAMAYOA: Fortunately, Sammi [Connald] and I work similarly. With real persons and situations, I immerse myself into history, almost to a ridiculous extent. 

First day in the rehearsal room, we were inundated with artifacts. Sammi has been to Argentina several times and interviewed heavily with people involved in Eva and Peron’s lives. Throughout the process we’d sit and talk about the real history that happened. We went down the rabbit hole.

Sammi’s interviews included time with Eva’s nurse who was at her bedside when she died. We watched videos of those interviews. They’ve been an integral part of our production. 

BLADE: Were you surprised by anything you learned?

SAMAYOA: Usually, Eva and Perón’s relationship is portrayed as purely transactional.  They wrote love letters and I had access to those. At their country home, they’d be in pajamas and walk on the beach; that part of their life was playful and informal. They were a political couple but they were deeply in love too. I latched on to that. 

BLADE: And anything about the man specifically? 

SAMAYOA:  Perón’s charisma was brought to the forefront. In shows I’ve done, some big names have attended. Obama. Clinton. Justin Trudeau came to “Come From Away.” Within seconds, the charisma makes you give into that person. I’ve tried to use that.  

BLADE: And the part? 

SAMAYOA: Perón is said to be underwritten. But I love his power and the songs he sings [“The Art of the Possible,” “She is a Diamond,” etc.]. I’m fully a baritone and to find that kind of role in a modern musical is nearly impossible. And in this rock opera, I can use it to the full extent and feel great about it.

BLADE: “Evita” is a co-production with A.R.T. Has it changed since premiering in Boston? 

SAMAYOA: Yes, it has. In fact, 48 hours before opening night in Washington, we made some changes and they’ve really landed. Without giving too much away, we gave it more gravity in reality of time as well as Eva’s sickness and the rapid deterioration. It’s given our second act a huge kind of engine that it didn’t have. 

BLADE: You’re married to talent agent Christopher Freer and you’re very open. Was it always that way for you?

SAMAYOA: When I started acting professionally, it was a very different industry. We were encouraged to stay in the closet or it will cast only in a certain part. There was truth in that. There still is some truth in that, but I refuse to go down that road. I can’t reach what I need to reach unless I’m my most honest self. I can’t do it any other way.

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Out & About

HRC’s National Dinner is back

LGBTQ rights organization’s annual gala features Rhimes, Waithe, Bomer



Actor Matt Bomer will be honored at the HRC National Dinner.

The Human Rights Campaign will host its annual National Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The dinner’s honorees include world-famous producers, actors and entertainers whose work spotlights the fight for civil rights and social justice, including Shonda Rhimes, Lena Waithe and Matt Bomer.

A new event, as part of the weekend, — the Equality Convention — will take place the night before the dinner on Friday, Oct. 13. The convention will showcase the power of the LGBTQ equality movement, feature influential political and cultural voices, and bring together volunteer and movement leaders from across the country to talk about the path ahead.
For more details about the weekend, visit HRC’s website.

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