A network of LGBT Jewish D.C. groups are joining forces for “Oh Gaydel, Gaydel, Gaydel! 2016’s Queery Chanukah Happy Hour” on Thursday, Dec. 22 from 6-9 p.m. at Number Nine (1435 P St., N.W.).
Among them are GLOE (GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the J), Bet Mishpachah, Gayyim, Nice Jewish Boys D.C. and Nice Jewish Girls.
Three years ago Ben Rosenbaum volunteered to chair Nice Jewish Boys and says, “It has been a blast creating a fun and welcoming community for gay Jews and our admirers or, as we sometimes call them, bagel chasers.”
The Boys are a social group for gay, bi and trans Jews in their 20s and 30s. For nearly a decade, the group has held monthly happy hours, Shabbat dinners, an annual weekend retreat and various holiday celebrations. Find the group on Facebook for details about its events.
Rosenbaum, a 33-year-old senior legislative staffer to Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), came to Washington nearly a decade ago to work in policy. A native of Pensacola, Fla., he is single and lives in Shaw.
Rosenbaum enjoys binge watching TV shows, taking walks, travel, theater, hiking and sports such as playing kickball with his Stonewall Kickball team, the Matzo Balls.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I started coming out just after college telling my best friend since birth. It was a process over the next few years with family members, coworkers and friends. My dad was the last person I came out to. He’s older and I think it is still hard for him to find the words to talk with me about this aspect of my life.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
As a gay Jew who openly serves a member of Congress, it’s hard to think of anyone but Frank Kameny. Fired from a federal job in the 1950s when it was discovered he was gay, he spent the rest of his long life fighting for LGBT quality so I could live and work openly.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Bear Happy Hour at Town is always a fun way to kick off the weekend with friends. And who doesn’t love a good deal?! Besides that, my favorite night out is the monthly Nice Jewish Boys happy hour at Number 9.
Describe your dream wedding.
Basically a repeat of my Bar Mitzvah (circa 1996) but with a live band, ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop and pop music playing deep into the night, plenty of alcohol and food trucks supplying some midnight snacks to refuel after a long night of dancing.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Urban planning and transportation. It’s an area that I concentrate on at work, and having lived in D.C. nearly a decade now it’s fascinating to see how the city is changing and adapting to that change.
What historical outcome would you change?
Trump winning the presidency. It would certainly make my job more pleasant.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
In 2009, I snagged a ticket to the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball where the Obamas had their first dance after the president’s swearing in. Listening to Beyoncé serenade the first couple with Etta James’ “At Last” marked such a cultural shift for the country.
On what do you insist?
Humility. This town has a lot of people working in important jobs and sometimes that can go to one’s head.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Who wore it best?? With side-by-side pictures of Garrett Clayton in “Hairspray Live!” and Aaron Tveit in “Grease Live!” both in short gym shorts. Aaron won hands down.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“You Can Never Sing Too Loud In The Shower: the Ben Rosenbaum Story Part I”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Not a damn thing.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
My Judaism plays an enormous role in my life. Three-thousand years of questioning our place in the universe, tradition and survival provides a pretty good guidebook for the choices we make in life, how we treat one another and the kind of legacy we want to leave behind. Before Mama Ru coined the phrase, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” 2,000 years ago, Rabbi Hillel asked, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” Can I get an Amen, for real?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Get off Facebook and Twitter and start going to your city council meetings. Your social media posts aren’t going to change many people’s minds.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
This obsession over the perfectly sculpted body. I’m still learning to embrace my bearish physique, but have, on more than one occasion, been on the receiving end of judgment and/or comments from perfect strangers who feel it is their place to say something.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
I was probably around 10 when I first saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I know I didn’t quite understand what I was seeing, but it definitely connected to a part of me I would soon come to terms with. Honorable mentions for “But I’m A Cheerleader,” “To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” and “Yossi and Jagger. “
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Saying “bless you” after someone sneezes. I still do it, every single time, even to strangers, so I don’t look like an asshole, but I really don’t want to.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I’m still waiting for my Tony.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
You’re stronger than you think you are. You can come out and those who can’t accept it aren’t worth your time or energy.
D.C. is young, vibrant, diverse and interesting. It’s large enough not to get bored and small enough that you can run into friends on the Metro on the regular. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Baltimore DJ on using music as a bridge to combat discrimination
Deezy brings high-energy show to the Admiral on Jan. 28
A Baltimore DJ will conclude a month of performances in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. clubs this Friday, Jan. 28, according to the artist’s management. DJ Deezy is set to perform at the Admiral in D.C. at 9 p.m.
Since the year began, Deezy has hosted electric events at clubs such as Hawthorne DC, DuPont and the Baltimore Eagle Bar & Nightclub.
The Washington Blade sat down with the DJ to discuss the course of her career.
The beginning of DJ Deezy’s infatuation with music dates back to her childhood spent between her mother’s house in Baltimore City and her father’s house in the suburbs.
In Baltimore, Deezy was exposed to the local rap and raw hip-hop scene that inspired her to embark on a rap career in high school.
Concurrently, she was entrenched in Motown and classic rock by virtue of her singer, songwriter, and guitarist father Ron Daughton’s involvement in a classic rock band. He is a member of “The Dalton Gang” and was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2015.
“Before I embarked on my DJ journey, my father let me record ‘a little 16’ on his tape recorder,” said Deezy. “Eventually, he bought me a wireless microphone that I carried around with me to performances.”
Between her experience as a rapper and watching her father maneuver the classic rock music scene, Deezy acquired varying tastes in music that have influenced how she curates her sets today.
She “specializes in open format vibes with spins from multiple genres including hip-hop, rap, circuit, and top 40s hits,” according to a summer 2021 press release from her management.
Deezy is also a proud member of the LGBTQ community — she identifies as a lesbian — and this also informs her approach to her work.
“I’m easily able to transition and rock the crowd because I can relate to many different backgrounds,” said Deezy. “I can DJ in places that are predominantly white, Black, or gay [and still do my job effortlessly].”
Deezy values representation. Not only because she exists in a field dominated by men, but also because DJs who inhabit other identities aside from being men are less common in the industry.
The scarcity of Black and lesbian DJs has prompted her to use her career as evidence that people who are different can attract audiences and succeed.
“I want to put us out there especially for Baltimore,” said Deezy. “I know that there’s Black lesbians out there doing the same thing as me, but why aren’t we getting [recognized]?”
In 2018, Deezy rented out a “Lez” lot at the Baltimore Pride block party where she set up a tent and played a set for the crowds tailgating around her. While entertaining them, she distributed her business cards — an act she believes yielded her the contact who eventually got her booked for a residency at the Baltimore Eagle.
While this was a step forward in her career, Deezy acknowledges that it wasn’t without challenges. She likened entering the Baltimore Eagle — traditionally a leather bar frequented predominantly by men —to navigating foreign territory.
“When I first got there, I got funny looks,” she said. “There’s a lot of these guys who are like, ‘Why are you bringing a lesbian DJ to a gay bar?’”
But Deezy powered through her performance, lifted the crowd from its seats and “rocked the house [so that] no one will ever ask any questions again.”
She admits that she’s an acquired taste but believes in her ability to play music infectious enough to draw anyone to the dance floor.
“Feel how you want to feel about a Black lesbian DJ being in the gay bar,” said Deezy. “But music is a bridge that [will] connect us all, and you’ll forget about your original discrimination when you [experience] me.”
While Deezy has mostly performed in the DMV, she has also made appearances in Arizona where she hosted a family event and also in clubs in Atlanta and New York City.
Her work has also attracted international attention and she was the cover star of French publication Gmaro Magazine’s October 2021 issue.
Looking to the future, Deezy’s goal is to be a tour DJ and play her sets around the world.
“I had a dream that Tamar Braxton approached me backstage at one of her concerts and asked me to be her tour DJ,” she said. “So, I’m manifesting this for myself.”
In the meantime, Deezy will continue to liven up audiences in bars and clubs around the country while playing sets for musicians like Crystal Waters and RuPaul’s Drag Race celebrity drag queens like Alyssa Edwards, Plastique Tiara, La La Ri, Joey Jay and Eureka O’Hara — all of whom she has entertained alongside in the past.
Outside the club, Deezy’s music can be heard in Shoe City where she created an eight-hour music mix split evenly between deep house and hip-hop and R&B.
Rodriquez scores historic win at otherwise irrelevant Golden Globes
Award represents a major milestone for trans visibility
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!!!!!”
As You Are Bar and the importance of queer gathering spaces
New bar/restaurant poised to open in 2022
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.
Va. Senate subcommittee tables anti-transgender student athlete bill
Two anti-LGBTQ bills die in Va. Senate
State Department reiterates concerns over Chechnya human rights record
At 15, restored ‘Shortbus’ is still a movie ahead of its time
DeSantis doesn’t want racism, LGBTQ topics taught in schools
Florida House committee passes “Don’t Say Gay” bill
Hyattsville mayor dies by suicide
Gus Kenworthy skis for Great Britain at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
SAG Award slate points to a not-very-queer Oscar night
California mom claims school manipulated child into changing gender identity
Sign Up for Blade eBlasts
Florida3 days ago
Florida House committee passes “Don’t Say Gay” bill
Maryland1 day ago
Hyattsville mayor dies by suicide
Opinions6 days ago
Why are gays so terrible at intergenerational friendships?
Local6 days ago
Va. senator introduces anti-transgender student athlete bill
World7 days ago
Two LGBTQ people named to Chilean president-elect’s Cabinet
Sports5 days ago
Gus Kenworthy skis for Great Britain at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
Local6 days ago
Comings & Goings
Theater6 days ago
In ‘Trans Am,’ a trans person telling a trans story