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‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ Lena Waithe win big at politically charged Emmys

the Hulu series won a total of eight awards for the night

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(Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe accept the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Screenshot via Twitter.)

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards was filled with historic wins, political humor and some LGBT representation on Sunday night.

Hosted by late night talk show host Stephen Colbert, the awards ceremony wasn’t short on digs at the Trump administration. Colbert’s opening monologue was riddled with Trump references. In one of the most surprising moments of the night, Sean Spicer made an appearance wheeling out a podium as a nod to Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of him on “Saturday Night Live.”

“This will be the largest audience to witness the Emmys, period,” Spicer told the shocked crowd.

Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin joined together for a “Nine to Five” reunion on stage and took their own aim at Trump.

“Back in 1980, in that movie we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot,” Fonda began.

“And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot,” Tomlin finished to the cheers of the crowd.

RuPaul also made an appearance as a living Emmy statue being quizzed by Colbert on her dating life with other award statues.

Dave Chappelle presented the award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series and brought attention to D.C. Public Schools with a random shoutout.

“All right, now I’m going to read this teleprompter. Shout out to D.C. Public Schools, here we go,” Chappelle, who is an alumni of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, joked.

Later in the night while accepting his award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, comedian John Oliver asked to get D.C. Public Schools trending on Twitter. His plea was heard and the hashtag was trending nationally.

The awards of the night marked firsts for many who held the statue on stage.

Lena Waithe made history for winning an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for co-writing the episode “Thanksgiving” on “Master of None” with the show’s co-creator, Aziz Ansari. She is the first black woman to receive the honor.

“Thanksgiving,” tells the story of how Waithe’s character Denise comes to terms with her sexuality and coming out in a black family over a series of family Thanksgivings. Waithe thanked her girlfriend while accepting the award and gave a special shoutout to her “LGBTQIA family.”

“I see each and every one of you,” Waithe says. “The things that make us different – those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it. And for everybody out there that showed us so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago.”

Donald Glover became the first black person to win both Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and for comedy directing for his work on “Atlanta.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on “Veep,” making her the record-holder for most Emmys won for the same role in the same series.

Sterling K. Brown was the first black man to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “This is Us” since Andre Braugher won in 1998. Riz Ahmed took home Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for “The Night Of,” making him the first South Asian man to receive the honor.

Kate McKinnon won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and thanked Hillary Clinton, who she frequently portrayed on “Saturday Night Live.”

“San Junipero,” from the sci-fi Netflix series “Black Mirror,” also received awards for Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or Movie. “San Junipero” follows an interracial, lesbian couple who fall in love in a simulated, alternate reality. It’s often been praised for its positive portrayal of an LGBT relationship and for having a happy ending.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” swept the Emmys, winning a total of eight awards including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Elisabeth Moss.

List of winners below.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown- “This Is Us” 
Anthony Hopkins, “Westworld”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Kevin Spacey”House of Cards”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” 
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Ron Cephas Jonas, “This Is Us”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
John Lithgow, “The Crown” 
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jeffrey Wright , “Westworld”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale” 
Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” 
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live” 
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Vanessa Bayer, “Saturday Night Live”
Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” 
Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Benedict Cumberbatch,” Sherlock”
Robert De Niro, “Wizard of Lies”
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
John Turturro, The Night Of

Outstanding Limited Series

“Big Little Lies” 
“Fargo”
“Feud: Bette and Joan”
“The Night Of”
“Genius”

Best TV Movie

“Black Mirror: San Junipero”
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors”
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
“The Wizard of Lies”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series

Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of” 
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series

Carrie Coon, “Fargo”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Judy Davis, “Feud: Bette and Joan
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies” 
Jackie Hoffman,”Feud: Bette and Joan”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Wizard of Lies”
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Bill Camp, “The Night Of”
Alfred Molina, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies” 
David Thewlis, “Fargo”
Stanley Tucci, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Michael Kenneth Williams, “The Night Of”

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” 
“The Late Late Show With James Corden”
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
“Real Time With Bill Maher”

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

“The Amazing Race”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Project Runway”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice” 

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Jamie Babbit, “Silicon Valley”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley”
David Mandel, “Veep”
Morgan Sackett, “Veep”
Dale Stern, “Veep”

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”
Peter Morgan, “The Crown”
Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale” 
Gordon Smith, “Better Call Saul”
Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, “The Americans”

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, “Master of None”
Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Stephen Glover, “Atlanta”
Billy Kimball, “Veep”
David Mandel, “Veep”

Best Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
David E. Kelley, “Big Little Lies”
Noah Hawley, “Fargo”
Ryan Murphy, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Jaffe Cohen, Michael Zam & Ryan Murphy, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Richard Price & Steven Zaillian, “The Night Of”

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Stephen Daldry, “The Crown”
Kate Dennis, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”
Vince Gilligan, “Better Call Saul”
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”
Reed Morano, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”

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Out & About

Forget Santa Claus – Ginger Minj is comin’ to town

‘Drag Race’ alum’s Winter Wonderland Tour stops in D.C. Nov. 29 and 30

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Ginger Minj will perform her holiday spectacular Winter Wonderland Tour at Miracle Theatre.

Ginger Minj is a busy little elf.

From her new country album “Double Wide Diva” to sporadic stints in TV and movies to her upcoming book, “Southern Fried Sass” (which reportedly scored her a six-figure deal), the “Drag Race” diva is everywhere these days, including a venue near you. On Nov. 29 and 30, the new queen of Christmas will perform her holiday spectacular Winter Wonderland Tour at Miracle Theatre.

We recently caught up with the multitalented actress/comedian/singer to discuss her continued success, including making friends with Jennifer Aniston while filming Netflix’s “Dumplin,’” her take on the latest Dave Chappelle backlash, the best Christmas gift she’s ever received, and what exactly makes her the “nicest bitch” this side of the North Pole – but first, let’s take a sleigh ride back to the beginning.

BLADE: Tell me a bit about how you got started in drag and the genesis of Ginger Minj. 

GINGER MINJ: Like most good show-tune-loving queers, I stumbled into drag through musical theater. I auditioned for a show that required either full-frontal nudity or drag, and I figured I would fare better in a wig and heels than nothing at all. I got the role and really took to it quickly. I felt more free and honest as a performer than I ever had before, and I realized I could make a livable income doing something that I was wholly responsible for creating. 

BLADE: How has your appearance on “Drag Race” helped your career, and what are your top takeaways from your time on the show?

GM: It’s an international platform that allows us to introduce ourselves to the entire world. It got me a seat at the table with people and places that refused to even open the door for me in the past. I think there was – and maybe still is sometimes – this initial assumption that drag artists are limited in their talents, but we have been able to show the world that we are just as talented and capable as any other entertainer. I don’t wear a wig as a gimmick. I wear it as an accessory, and it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be taken as seriously as any other actor, singer, etc. “Drag Race” is doing a great job of showing the world that – and I’ll forever be grateful.

BLADE: If folks didn’t catch you on “Drag Race,” they might recognize you from the 2018 Netflix movie “Dumplin’” starring Jennifer Aniston and Dove Cameron. What was your experience like on set, and do you have any other TV/film projects in the works?

GM: “Dumplin’” was the single best experience of my life! Jennifer Aniston brought me coffee every morning, and Kathy Najimy had my trailer moved next to hers so we could listen to Beyoncé and play with makeup. That entire cast and crew treated all of us queens with unbelievable respect. It really gave me a passion for filmmaking and, yes, I’m happy to say there are a few more projects – big screen and small – coming your way soon.

BLADE: What makes you the “nicest bitch you’ll ever meet?”

GM: It’s like those good ole’ southern church ladies who will give you the shirts off their backs but read you to filth for not bringing one of your own. The only thing bigger than my mouth is my heart and the “shady” things I say should never be taken seriously. 

BLADE: As a comedian yourself, what are your thoughts on the latest Dave Chappelle/Netflix controversy?

GM: I’ve always felt like comedy and drag go hand in hand: It’s an outrageous way to start a conversation and make people confront their own feelings about anything and everything. That being said, I think there’s a way to do that without disparaging and discrediting an entire group of human beings. I think it’s shameful that someone with that great of a platform would choose to punch down. 

BLADE: Your new single “Walk Tall” is about growing up gay in the South – and it’s a very good song. Radio worthy even, but a hard sell, given its content, to a country-music audience. How do you think that changes? Will LGBTQ+ country artists ever enjoy the kind of success their straight counterparts do?

GM: I think so. To be completely honest with you, I’ve gotten much more support for that album from the country community than I have from the drag world. The message is so universal, and we were very careful to do it in an authentic, simple way. When we stop focusing on our differences and start embracing our similarities, the world can change. I just do the things that make me happy and hope it finds the people who need to hear it. 

BLADE: Christmas is just around the corner – do you prefer giving or receiving? What’s your most prized Christmas present from the past?

GM: I’m definitely a giver! I drive myself crazy for months researching and planning and looking for the perfect gifts for everyone. It’s my way of showing the people I care most about that while I may be busy, I’m listening. I hear them, I see them, and I appreciate them. The best Christmas present I ever got was a cheap plastic pair of ruby slippers from my mama when I was a kid. I still have them. That moment changed my life forever. It’s what actually inspired “Walk Tall.”

BLADE: Like Santa Claus himself, the Ginger Minj Winter Wonderland Tour 2021 is coming to town. What do you have in store for audiences this holiday season?

GM: What don’t we have in store?! There are 20 costume changes, instructional videos gone terribly wrong, singing, dancing, magic tricks, fog machines, comedy, and it even snows over the audience! This is the biggest, prettiest, most ambitious show we have ever put together.

BLADE: Looking forward to 2022, what’s in the works? What are a few of your New Year’s resolutions?

GM: So many great things — more music, some movies, some TV, a stage production of “La Cage aux Folles” in Chicago, and my book “Southern Fried Sass” will hit the shelves. It’s a great time to be the “Glamour Toad,” and I am grateful every single day. 

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels.

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Music & Concerts

Forget streaming, the holiday classics return to area stages

Bring your proof of vaccination and check out a local production this season

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A scene from a previous Gay Men's Chorus of Washington Holiday Show. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

A year ago, the holiday season was streamed. But now, thanks to various protocols including masks and proof of vaccination, DMV theatergoers can come together and experience – live and in-person — both beloved classics and some promising new works. Here’s a smattering of what’s out there.

At Olney Theatre, Paul Morello is thrilled to bring back “A Christmas Carol 2021” (through Dec. 26), his solo adaptation of Dickens’ ghost story. Concerning returning to a live audience, Morello says, “While this is technically a one-person show, it’s really about the connection and collaboration with an audience, being in the same room, breathing in unison. I can’t do this without an audience and for a story that thrives on redemption, mortality, isolation, the need for community and connection, and the things that matter most, the timing couldn’t be better.”

Olney also presents “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” through Jan. 2. This musical “tale as old as time” stars out actor Jade Jones as Belle and Evan Ruggiero plays the Beast. olneytheatre.org

For the holidays, Synetic Theater at Crystal City is reworking “Cinderella” (Nov. 27-Dec. 26). Led by an all-female team of creators, this festive take on the classic fairytale is inspired by Afro-Latino music and dance. Directed and adapted by Maria Simpkins who also plays the title role. synetictheater.org

Last year, because of COVID-19, Ford’s Theatre presented “A Christmas Carol” as a radio broadcast, but now the fully produced play returns to the venue’s historic stage through Dec. 27. A popular Washington tradition for more than 30 years, the thoroughly enjoyable and topnotch take on the Dickens’ classic features Craig Wallace reprising the part of Scrooge, the miser who after a night of ghostly visits, rediscovers Christmas joy. fords.org

Another D.C. tradition guaranteed to put audiences in a holiday mood is the Washington Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” playing at the Warner Theatre through Dec. 26. Set to Tchaikovsky’s enchanted score, this charming and superbly executed offering takes place in Georgetown circa 1882 and features a retinue of historic figures along with children, rats, fairies and a mysterious godfather. Choreography is by Septime Webre. washingtonballet.org

The Folger Consort, the superb early music ensemble in residence at the Folger, will be performing seven concerts of “A Medieval Christmas” (Dec. 10-18) at St. Mark’s Church on Capitol Hill. A streaming version of the concert will also be available to view on-demand. folger.edu

At Lincoln Theatre, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. presents “The Holiday Show” (Dec. 4, 11, and 12) replete with tap-dancing elves, a dancing Christmas tree, snow, and a lot more. The fun and festive program’s song list includes “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, “The 12 Rockin’ Days of Christmas,” and “Boogie Woogie Frosty.” Featured performances range from the full Chorus, soloists, all GMCW ensembles, and the GenOUT Youth Chorus. gmcw.org

Arena Stage is marking the season with August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” (through Dec. 26), a drama about a small group of friends who gather following the untimely death of their friend, a blues guitarist on the edge of stardom. Directed by Tazewell Thompson, the production features an exciting cast that includes local actors Dane Figueroa Edidi and Roz White. arenastage.org

Creative Cauldron is serving up some holiday magic with “The Christmas Angel” (Dec. 9-19). Based on a little-known 1910 novel by Abbey Farwell Brown, it’s the story of a lonely and bitter spinster who returns to happiness through a box of old toys. The commissioned new holiday musical is a collaboration of longtime musical collaborators and married couple Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith (lyrics and book). creativecauldron.org

In keeping with the Yuletide spirit, the National Theatre presents two feel-good national tour musicals. First, it’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (through Dec. 5), a musical take on Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas.”

Next up is “Tootsie” (Dec. 7-12), the hit musical based on the 1982 gender-bending film starring Dustin Hoffman as an out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a woman to land a role on a popular soap opera. The show boasts a Tony-winning book by Robert Horn and a score by Tony winner David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit). thenationaldc.com

Keegan Theatre presents its annual holiday offering, “An Irish Carol” (Dec. 10-31). Set in a modern Dublin pub, the funny yet poignant original work (a nod to Dickens) tracks the changes in the life of a rich but miserable publican over the course of one Christmas Eve. keegantheatre.org

At Theater J, it’s the Kinsey Sicks’ “Oy Vey in a Manger” (Dec. 17-25). Blending drag, four-part harmony, and political humor, the “dragapella beautyshop quartet” brings its own hilariously irreverent view on the holidays. theaterj.org

And through Jan. 2, Signature Theatre continues to brighten the season with its production of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” directed by the company’s out artistic director Matthew Gardiner and featuring out actor David Merino as Angel, a preternaturally energetic drag queen and percussionist. sigtheare.org

The Music Center at Strathmore, also in Bethesda, is presenting a wide range of musical holiday offerings including “Manheim Steamroller Christmas” (Dec. 3 and 4), a multimedia holiday tradition; Sarah Brightman in “A Christmas Symphony” (Dec. 6 and 7); “A Celtic Christmas with Séan Heely Celtic Band” (Dec. 11); Washington Bach Consort’s “Bach’s Epic Christmas Oratorio” (Dec. 11); the beloved “The Washington Chorus: A Candlelight Christmas” (Dec. 16 and 17); and last but not least “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” (Dec. 20), Tchaikovsky’s classic reimagined with MC Kurtis Blow (“White Lines”). strathmore.org

And finally, something strictly for the kids: Imagination Stage presents “Corduroy” (Dec. 11-Jan. 24). Based on the beloved children’s books by Don Freeman, it’s the heartwarming story of a girl and her perfectly imperfect Teddy Bear. Best for ages 3-9. imaginationstage.org

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Bars & Parties

Disco Funk Brunch at Crazy Aunt Helen’s

Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform

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Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Drag queen Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform at the biweekly Disco Funk Brunch at the LGBT-owned Crazy Aunt Helen’s on Sunday. For future showtimes, go to crazyaunthelens.com. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

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