Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

FALL ARTS PREVIEW 2017: HRC dinner, High Heel Race, Youth Pride among upcoming events

AIDS Walk, Trans Day of Remembrance, High Heel Race and more on fall slate



events, gay news, Washington Blade
DC gay events, gay news, Washington Blade

High Heel Race (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Some events don’t fit in our other fall arts categories. Here are a few to note. If no URL is given, search for the event on Facebook for details.

Washington Improv Theater’s “Rise Up!” event opened this week and continues through Sunday, Oct. 1 at the D.C. Arts Center (2438 18th St., N.W.) in Adams Morgan. Several LGBT performers are involved. Details at

The sixth annual Chefs for Equality event will be held Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Dock5 at Union Market. Tickets are $200. Details at

The Latino GLBT History Project has its 12th annual Hispanic LGBT Heritage Awards on Friday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at HRC Headquarters (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.). Admission is free but donations will be accepted. Details on Facebook or at

The 10th annual Downtown Hyattsville Arts Festival returns to its usual three-block site in Hyattsville, Md., on Saturday, Sept. 23 from noon-6 p.m. Details at

Story District is celebrating its 20th anniversary season with several events including “I Did It For the Story: a Tribute to 20 Years of Storytelling” (Sept. 23) at Lincoln Theatre; “Best of Real to Reel” (Oct. 4) at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse; a monthly storytelling event held the second Tuesday of each month at Town and more. Story District plans a bilingual, LGBT event on National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Full details at

Comedian and author Jen Kirkman plays the Howard Theatre (620 T St., N.W.) on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.50-40. Details at

The Ask Rayceen Show” has its usual fall events. Rayceen’s Reading Room will be at the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St., N.W.) on Monday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. to kick off D.C. Public Library’s Banned Books Week. Admission is free. Upcoming shows are Wednesday, Oct. 4 (talent competition) and Wednesday, Nov. 8 (season finale). The show is held at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.). Doors open at 6 p.m. It’s free. Details at

Pride Outside offers “The LGBT Community and the Outdoors” event on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at Patagonia Store (1048 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) to “shine a light on the LGBT community and the outdoors.”

The Northern Virginia Pride Festival 2017 is dubbed “Declare Yourself” and is Sunday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Bull Run Special Events Center in Centreville, Va. Details at

Baltimore Black Pride week is Oct. 2-9 but events are planned all month.

The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) has several events for fall including Capitol Jazz Foundation Conference (Oct. 5), “She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange” (Oct. 5-14), We Happy Few Presents “Dracula” (Oct. 30) and more. Full details at

Youth Pride Day was bumped this year from its usual May date. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7 from noon-5 p.m. in Dupont Circle.

A discussion about LGBT suicide prevention is part of the “One Love for a City” event at Hillcrest Children and Family Center that runs Oct. 8-15. Details at

Real-life lesbian married couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher bring their “Back to Back” stand-up show to the 9:30 Club on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. They’re known as the first gay married couple to co-create and star in their own TV show (“Take My Wife”). Look for the event on ticketfly or at for details.

The 50th annual Dupont Circle House Tour is Sunday, Oct. 15 at noon.

No information yet, but the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club will likely hold its 41st annual Leadership Awards in mid-to-late October.

The OutServe-SLDN sixth annual LGBT Military Community Conference is Oct. 19-21 at Dupont Circle Hotel.

The Blade will hold its 16th annual Best of Gay D.C. Awards on Thursday, Oct. 19. Details pending.

The Maryland Renaissance Festival continues through Oct. 22 in Annapolis. Details at

The 31st annual High Heel Race will be Tuesday, Oct. 24 on 17th Street.

The National LGBTQ Task Force has its October planning meeting for the Creating Change conference on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.).

The 21st annual HRC National Dinner is Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Washington Convention Center (801 Mt. Vernon Pl., N.W.). Tickets are $400. Details at

The Walk & 5k to End HIV, the 31st anniversary of AIDS Walk Washington, will be held earlier this year on Oct. 28-29. The walk/run is on Saturday in Freedom Plaza; a brunch will be held on Sunday. Details at

The 20th annual SMYAL Fall Brunch is Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Marriott Marquis (901 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.) at 10:30 a.m. Details at

The annual wreath laying for LGBT veterans is Saturday, Nov. 11 at noon at Congressional Cemetary.

Local drag legend Shi-Queeta-Lee celebrates her 53rd birthday with “Decades of a Queen” at Town on Sunday, Nov. 12 from 6-10 p.m.

Trans Breast Cancer Awareness is Saturday, Nov. 18 at the D.C. Center.

Trans Day of Remembrance is Monday, Nov. 20 at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington at 5:30 p.m. (474 Ridge St., N.W.). Details at or on Facebook.



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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade