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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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Sports

Four Olympics, 13 years, and now a Gold Medal for Tom Daley

“I hope any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything.”

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British Olympic Diving Duo Matty Lee and Tom Daley (Photo Credit: Daley Instagram)

TOKYO – Standing there on the podium with tears forming in his eyes, a masked for Covid-19 British Olympic diver Tom Daley saw his dreams of Olympic Gold finally come true Monday. Watching a live-stream of the event intently, at the moment Daley secured his victory, Tom’s husband, writer Lance Black and Tom’s mother took in the results and jumped up screaming in joy.

Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on Monday at Tokyo 2020 narrowly besting the defending champions, China’s Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen by just 1.23 points.

“I still can’t honestly believe what is happening,” Daley told BBC Sport. “That moment, being about to be announced as Olympic champions, I was gone. I was blubbering.” 

Daley tells young LGBTQ people: “You can achieve anything”

Later at a press conference, Daley, an openly gay athlete talked about the experience of being gay and at the games;

“In terms of out athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously. I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit. There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be. I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything.”

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Books

Drew Pisarra’s ‘dangerously funny and queerly inventive brain’

‘You’re Pretty Gay’ shatters expectations and social mores

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Drew Pisarra’s ‘You’re Pretty Gay’ is just out from Chaffinch Press.

Is there anything more absurd than this, wondered gay poet and writer Drew Pisarra.  Pisarra, then, was an assistant to a paralegal at a toothpaste company.

Fiercely protective of the pattern on its toothpaste, they wrote letters to rivals who, they felt, were infringing on their copyright.

Even when their competitors were in countries in the middle of a civil war, “They would write back, ‘we can’t respond now, we’re in a war,’” Pisarra said.

But that didn’t soften the heart of the toothpaste company. They’d insist that “this most important matter be dealt with as soon as the war ends,” Pisarra said.

If you think that authors don’t encounter the absurdity and grit of everyday life or that all writers do is drink coffee (or sip stronger libations) while looking at the sunset, you haven’t met Pisarra.

Pisarra, 56, whose new short story collection “You’re Pretty Gay” is just out from Chaffinch Press, has worked at everything from ventriloquism to domestic work.

The word “unique” is so hackneyed that it’s a cliche to say it’s a cliche. But there’s no other way to describe “You’re Pretty Gay.”

This collection “is a prime example of Drew Pisarra’s dangerously funny and queerly inventive brain,” said Kevin Sampsell, author of “This Is Between Us.” “Each story is its own performance, its own shattering of expectations and social mores.”

Pisarra, who lives in Manhattan, gives readers a mosaic of wit, surrealism,  sex, queerness, memory, mortality and self-discovery.

In “You’re Pretty Gay,” there are gay bars in New York and New Orleans.

You’ll find everything from adolescent bullies fighting over a rare caterpillar to a character taking an AIDS test and, later, meeting up with Mrs. Claus.  

“Mrs. Claus I didn’t even know you were alive,” says the narrator of “Arctic Chill.” “I didn’t even know you were real. I haven’t received a gift from you or your husband in ten years.”

Another of Pisarra’s tales revolves around a trip to hell. “I love traveling,” says the narrator of “The Hat from Hell, “I got this hat when I was in Hell back in 1992.”

In “Granny,” siblings gather after their mother’s death. “All anyone could remember of her was that chair, how she sat in it for the last 40 years,” Pisarra writes, “immobile as ‘Jeopardy’ and the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ glared at her night after night.”

Pisarra’s characters yearn to find love, sex, and who they really are.

“In my quest to bed mankind, I tended to avoid perfection’s rejection,” says the narrator of “Every Man for Myself.”

Pisarra, whose first short story collection “Publick Spanking” was published in 1996, was born in Orange, N.J. When he was in the third grade, he moved to Maryland. There, except for living in Oxon Hill for a year, he grew up in Silver Spring.

When Pisarra was growing up, being gay wasn’t even remotely on the horizon. “There was such denial in the culture then,” Pisarra said.

From early on, he had feelings for men. “I had a crush on a boy in kindergarten,” Pisarra said.

He consulted books and a priest, which wasn’t helpful. They said he’d grow out of it.

“As a teenager, I recognized that I hadn’t outgrown it,” Pisarra said.

Pisarra was a college freshman when he came out. “I sobbed the night I came out,” he said.

He was out in college, Pisarra said, “but I wasn’t getting laid.” That changed when he moved to New Orleans after college.

Pisarra graduated from Hofstra University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in theater.

In college, a professor had the students sit in a circle. Then, the teacher told them how she thought they’d be cast. 

“She told me, ‘you’re a grotesque,’”Pisarra said, “‘You won’t work until you’re in your fifties. Because your face and body don’t match.’”

Pisarra was relieved to hear this. His sense of relief was related to being a young gay man in the late 1980s.

“I wasn’t interested in being closeted,” Pisarra said, “I wrote. I wanted to perform.  I wasn’t interested in conforming.”

Since then, Pisarra has been creating – performing and writing his own material. Some of the stories in “You’re Pretty Gay” were originally created for the stage.

“I don’t write that often,” Pisarra said, “I started writing the stories in ‘You’re Pretty Gay’ 20 years ago.”

A prodigious reader, Pisarra has always “written to some degree,” he said.

Pisarra got turned on to writing poetry when he went to a meeting of a gay and lesbian writers group.

“There were, like, 10 people in this apartment,” Pisarra said, “there was a terrible woman sitting next to me.”

He would have dropped out of the group, if he hadn’t met writer Mare Davis, now his close friend.  

“I said to her, ‘I never want to see any of these people again except you,’” Pisarra said, “She inspired me to get into poetry.”

Davis wrote the introduction to Pisarra’s poetry collection “Infinity Standing Up” (Capturing Fire Press).

Released in 2019, the volume of sexy, playful sonnets received glowing reviews from the Washington Post, the Blade and other outlets.

“Devour me! Think me not some crazy nut!,” Pisarra writes in one of his sonnets.

With lines like these, he gives Shakespeare a run for his money.

Pisarra has held a variety of jobs – many of which have involved the arts. He has helped homeless people with mental health issues to find housing.

“I ran a writers group for them,” Pisarra said, “I encouraged a super-talented woman to send her work out.”

The woman and Pisarra submitted their work to the same magazine. “Her work was accepted. Mine wasn’t,” he said, “I was thrilled!”

In an unusual career twist, Pisarra, who received a literary grant from the Café Royal Cultural Foundation, toured a ventriloquist act entitled “Singularly Grotesque.” He created the act after the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art commissioned him to develop a new solo piece.

“I was wandering around the library aisles and I found two (self-help) pamphlets on talking with ‘multiple’ selves,’” Pisarra said, “and I thought this is ventriloquism in a nutshell.”

Pisarra hadn’t watched much TV.  But that didn’t keep him from interviewing with AMC to be its director of digital media.

“I thought why not,” Pisarra said, “it would be a chance to see what else is out there in the world.”

He worked on the websites for “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”  “It was a pleasure to be part of the online team for these cultural phenomena!” Pisarra said.

With Molly Gross, Pisarra co-founded Saint Flashlight. In this project, he and Gross find inventive ways to get poetry into public spaces.

One of the project’s most innovative efforts has been putting haiku on movie marquees.  It’s fun to see people, looking up, counting the syllables, Pisarra said. You sweat when you put the letters up on the marquee, he added.

“It’s part of the fun! It makes you feel like you’re making something matter,” Pisarra said.

He doesn’t want poetry to be confined to “The New Yorker.”  “It should push the envelope,” Pisarra said, “It’s not just for the upper crust.”

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Out & About

Calendar: July 23-29

Events in the week to come

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‘Stepping OUT on Faith’ features speakers addressing their interfaith spiritual experiences of the AIDS Memorial Quilt displayed on the National Mall 1987. (File photo courtesy of the NAMES Project Foundation)

Friday, July 23

Friday Tea Time and social for older LGBTQ adults will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. You are welcome to bring your own beverage. For access to the Zoom link, email [email protected].

“Trans Support Group” will be hosted on Zoom at 7 p.m. This event is intended to provide emotionally and physically safe space for transgender people and those who may be questioning their gender identity/expression to join in community and learn from one another.  All who identify under the trans umbrella or are unsure, and seek to continually reinforce principles of respect, acceptance, and protection through ongoing input from our attendees are welcome.

Saturday, July 24

The “Gay District Meeting” will be at 8 p.m. via Zoom. Gay District is a community-based organization focused on building understanding of gay culture and personal identity, awareness of community events and civil rights for gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and inter-sexed men between the ages of 18 and 35 in the D.C. metropolitan area. For more information, visit gaydistrict.org

Join the DC Center in volunteering at Food & Friends from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 219 Riggs Road, N.E. Food and Friends prepares and delivers meals and groceries to people living with HIV, cancer, and other life challenging illnesses. Up to five volunteers are needed every month. If you need a ride from the Fort Totten Metro, call the Food and Friends shuttle at 202- 669-6437.

Sunday, July 25

“Crafternoons with Shop Made in DC!” will be at 12 p.m. at 1353 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. Guests are encouraged to bring a project or come and make one at Shop Made in DC’s classroom table. There will be various art supplies available. For more information, visit Eventbrite.

Monday, July 26

The Center Aging Coffee Drop-in will be at 10 a.m. at the DC Center. LGBT Older Adults and friends are invited for friendly conversations and current issues that you might be dealing with. For more information visit Center Aging’s Facebook or website.

Tuesday, July 27

Join Center Faith for Intersectional Faith Forums at 7 p.m. online. In this Forum, attendees will hear from panelists who participated in the LGBT history event “Stepping OUT on Faith” in 2014. These pioneers will speak about their interfaith spiritual experiences of the AIDS Memorial Quilt of the Names Project Foundation displayed on the National Mall 1987 that led to establishing Center Faith. For more information, visit Center Faith’s Facebook page.

Genderqueer DC support group will be on Zoom at 7 p.m. All those who identify as bigender, agender, genderfluid, or are not 100% cisgender are welcome to attend. For more information visit genderqueerdc.org or Genderqueer DC’s Facebook

Wednesday, July 28

Join the DC Center for its virtual job club, a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking. The event begins on Zoom at 6 p.m. For more information, email [email protected]

Friendship Place’s LGBTQ+ will host the final session of a free webinar series titled “Advocacy, Resistance, and LGBTQ+ Resilience” at 12 p.m. This event will be a panel conversation focused on the vital work of advocacy and resistance to ensure access and rights for the LGBTQ+ community. The panel will also touch on the importance of self-care in the work of advocacy and resilience that comes from community. For more information, visit capitalpride.org.

Thursday, July 29

“Queer Book Club” will be at 7 p.m. via Skype. This month’s book discussion will be “Black Boy Out of Time” by Hari Ziyad. If you are interested in participating, please email [email protected]

The Mayor’s Office will host a “Veterans Roundtable” on Thursday, July 29 at 12 p.m. This event aims to connect the District’s veterans with information, resources, and organizations that may be beneficial to a successful military transition. 

It will be an informal discussion that revolves around varying topics including housing, employment, healthcare, and legal services. Upon conclusion of the discussion, all resource providers in attendance offer feedback on any topics discussed or how they can assist the veteran or their family in a positive capacity.

The event will be hosted in person and will highlight BIPOC Veteran Mental Health Awareness with speakers from the DC VA Medical Center. For more information, visit Eventbrite.

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