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No shortage of World AIDS Day commemoration options in D.C. this year

‘Buddies’ screening, Walk to End HIV and more slated for coming days

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World AIDS Day, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Washington has several events planned around the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. 

Then, There & Now: World AIDS Day Celebration” is Friday, Nov. 30 from 6-10 p.m. at North Hall at Eastern Market (225 7th St., S.E.). Impulse D.C. presents the event and invites attendees to “join us as we look back through the decades of the ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and today on how AIDS has affected the LGBT community.” 

Billed as an “interactive art experience,” it will feature a celebrity guest speaker, “sip & paint,” dance, spoken word and drama. Admission is free and a two-hour sponsored bar will be available. 

Impulse D.C. is dedicated to “sexual health education, advocacy and breaking the stigma for gay men both positive and negative. Supported by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Look for the event on Facebook for details or visit impulsegrp.org. 

Stand With Us: the Walk/Run to End HIV” was bumped to Saturday, Dec. 1 because of bad October weather. It will be held from 7-11 a.m. at Freedom Plaza (14th St., N.W. and Pennsylvania Ave.). 

The event, now in its 32nd year, is produced and benefits Whitman-Walker Health, a non-profit community health center providing “culturally inclusive and accessible care to all.” It’s Whitman-Walker’s signature fundraiser and typically raises thousands each year.

As of Blade press time Wednesday, top-generating teams for this year include Whitman-Walker’s own team (($66,821), the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington ($10,469) and Team Latham ($7,925). Randy Pumphrey ($9,200), Dave Kirkland ($6,875) and Kevin Waldorf-Cruz ($5,543) are the top individual generators. Details at walktoendhiv.org. 

World AIDS Day: Rehoboth Beach is also Saturday, Dec. 1 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Rehoboth Beach Bandstand (229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). It’s a candlelight walk and service “of remembrance and hope.” Names of friends and family lost to AIDS will be read. To have the name of a loved one added to the list of names to be read, e-mail [email protected] or fill out an online form at camprehoboth.com or call 302-227-5620. The walk begins at 6:30 p.m. at the bandstand; the service is at 7 at All Saints Episcopal Church (18 Olive Ave.). Full details at camprehoboth.com. 

An acknowledgement of World AIDS Day will also occur on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Seasons of Love Christmas concert by the music ministry of Oaklands Presbyterian Church in Laurel, Md. Look for the event on Facebook for details. 

Buddies,” billed as the first dramatic film about HIV/AIDS, will be screened by Reel Affirmations on Thursday, Dec. 6 at HRC Headquarters (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.). The 1985 film, shot on a shoestring budget, was partially filmed in Washington by director Arthur J. Bressan Jr. Co-star David Schachter will be present at the screening. Tickets are $12 or $25 VIP. Details at thedccenter.org. 

The D.C. Sisters and Sister Allie Lewya will hold a World AIDS Day drag show and fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 p.m. at TRADE (1410 14th St., N.W.). Proceeds will go to HIPS. Look for the event on Facebook for details. 

Inner Lights Ministries UCC has a World AIDS Day recognition service on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. at the Anacostia Arts Center (1231 Good Hope Rd., S.E.) with special guest B. Jackson Caesar, who will perform songs from his new recording “Tis the Season.” Dancer G-Carlos will also perform. Look for the event on Facebook for details. 

Gay-led Empowerment Liberation Cathedral has its World AIDS Sunday service at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5301 N. Capitol St., N.E. Look for the event on Facebook for details. 

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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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Children’s Beach House to host holiday fundraiser

Music by artists Pamala Stanley and 2nd Time Around

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Pamala Stanley performs at a fundraiser for the Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Del., on Dec. 3. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Del., will begin its weekend-long fundraiser with an annual holiday party on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will include a live auction, cocktails, dinner by Touch of Italy and music by artists Pamala Stanly and 2nd Time Around. This fundraiser will help support CBH’s work with children and families. Tickets are $150.

The celebrations will continue with a “Santa’s Workshop” event on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. This event will include cookie decorating and making holiday crafts, among other events. There will also be a cash bar available with bloody mary’s and mimosas for those 21 years and older. Tickets cost $30.

CBH will end the weekend with “Happy Hour With the Boy Band Project” on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. This event will be a musical performance by an electric boy band cover group, which was named “Best Group” by the 2019 Broadway World Awards that re-imagines the sound, movement, and energy of NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, One Direction, and more. Tickets are $150. Visit cbhinc.org for more information.

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Out & About

Clarksburg church to host Trans Day of Remembrance

Rev. Erica Saunders will be a guest speaker

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About Trans, Trans Town Hall, Trans Visibility, Gender-Affirming Services, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Hyattstown Christian Church will host a service of remembrance on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. in person at 26012 Frederick Rd., Clarksburg, Md., and on Zoom. 

Rev. Erica Saunders will be a guest speaker at the event. Saunders is pastor of Peace Community Church in Oberlin, Ohio. 

She is one of the first openly trans women ordained in Baptist life and serves on the executive council of Christian Feminism Today. 

For more information about the service, visit [email protected]

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