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Calendar: Dec. 7-13, 2018

Gay Men’s Chorus, D.C. Queer Theatre Festival and more for the week ahead

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LGBT events DC Dec 2018, gay news, Washington Blade

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs Saturday night at the Lincoln Theatre. The choir’s annual holiday show also has performances slated for Dec. 15-16. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Friday, Dec. 7

Bet Mishpachah and GLOE host a Hanukkah service at Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Rabbi Laurie Green and guest Rabbi Ben Shalva will co-lead this musical service. 

JR.’s Bar (1519 17th St., N.W.) hosts a viewing party for “RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular” tonight from 8-11 p.m. Attendees can watch RuPaul crown the first “Drag Race” Christmas Queen while enjoying drink specials. 

Miss Pixie’s (1626 14th St., N.W.) hosts its sixth annual holiday market today from 5-8 p.m. About 15 local makers and small businesses will be selling their items. There will be live music by jazz band the Bitter Dose Combo, vegetarian paella for sale from Barcelona Wine Bar and a raffle. All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to Casa Ruby. Miss Pixie’s items will be 20 percent off all day. 

D.C. Queer Theatre Festival kicks off at D.C. Arts Center (2438 18th St., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Seven queer-themed, 10-minute plays will be performed from playwrights including Audrey Cefaly, Asabi Oke, Brittany Alsye Willis, John Bavaso and more. Tickets are $20. 

Saturday, Dec. 8

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs its holiday show at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. The chorus will sing holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “Puttin’ on the Holiday Drag,” “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and more. Tickets range from $25-65. Performances are also scheduled for Dec. 15-16. For more information, visit gmcw.org

LULAC Lambda hosts its annual holiday party at the Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th St., N.W.) tonight from 8-11 p.m. There will be tamales and mixed drinks. DJ Milko will play music and Corazon Folklorico and Sylvanna Duvel will perform. The party raises funds for academic scholarship for LGBT Latinx students. The group will also honor its Member of the Year, Board Member of the Year and Ally of the Year. Members for 2019 can also sign up at the party. 

Mary’s House for Older Adults hosts its holiday gala at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight from 6-11 p.m. There will be door prizes and food. Michael Sainte-Andress will emcee the event. Akousa McCray-Peters will DJ for the night. Single tickets are $75. Couple tickets are $140. 

Distrkt C hosts Dirty Santa, a holiday dance party, at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) tonight from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. DJ Ed Wood will perform an extended set. Tickets are $30. 

Sunday, Dec. 9

BenDeLaCrème and Jinkx Monsoon perform their holiday show “To Jesus, Thanks for Everything” at 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $35. VIP tickets are $100 and include a meet and greet and early entry. VIP entry is at 7 p.m. General admission entry is at 7:30 p.m. For more details, visit 930.com.

D.C. Area Transmasculine Society hosts “Navigating the Holidays as a Trans or NB Person,” at Whitman-Walker Health (1525 14th St., N.W.) this evening from 5-7 p.m. The support group will discuss how to navigate the holidays as a transgender or non-binary individual. The group is open to people who were assigned female at birth but do not feel this accurately or completely describes themselves. Binder donations will be accepted. HIPS syringe exchange will also be available. For more information, visit dcats.org.

Stonewall Yoga D.C. has its fall session at Pitchers (2317 18th St., N.W.) today from 10:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Beginner’s yoga is from 10:45-11:45 a.m. Intermediate yoga is from noon-1:15 p.m. Mike Giordano leads beginner’s yoga and Luke Ventura will lead intermediate practice. Fall classes run through Dec. 23. Access to all classes is $65. Drop-in is $10. 

Monday, Dec. 10

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours for the senior LGBT community this morning from 10 a.m.-noon. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

GLOE hosts Torah & Sexuality: Blood, Power and Purity at Sixth & I (600 I St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. The class focuses on sexual expression and sexual identity in a queer context led by rabbis and Jewish educators. Each class is $18. For more information, visit edcjcc.org.

Wednesday, Dec. 12

The D.C. Area Transmasculine Society hosts a trans-masculine and non-binary happy hour at the Eleanor (100 Florida Ave., N.E.) tonight from 6-9 p.m. The society is a group for people assigned female at birth but who feel this is an incomplete or inaccurate description of their identity. Significant others, friends and allies are welcome. Binder donations will be accepted. For more information, visit dcatssociety.org

Big Gay Book Group meets at Trio Bistro Restaurant (1537 17th St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss “The Sparsholt Affair” by Alan Hollinghurt. Newcomers welcome. For more details, visit biggaybookgroup.com or email [email protected].

The Lambda Bridge Club meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

Thursday, Dec. 13

Pretty Boi Drag presents #AmateurKingNight at Beir Baron (1523 22nd St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Amateur kings are encouraged to take the stage. The event will be ASL interpreted. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Attendees must be 18 and over. 

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Photos

PHOTOS: DCGFFL 25th Anniversary Party

Gay flag football league marks milestone at Penn Social

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The D.C. Gay Flag Football league held a party celebrating their 25th season at Penn Social on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) held a 25th season anniversary party at Penn Social on Saturday, Sept. 23. Proceeds from the event benefited the LGBTQ youth services organization SMYAL as well as the D.C. Center for the LGBTQ Community.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Books

New book goes behind the scenes of ‘A League of Their Own’

‘No Crying in Baseball’ offers tears, laughs, and more

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(Book cover image courtesy of Hachette Books)

‘No Crying in Baseball: The Inside Story of ‘A League of Their Own’
By Erin Carlson
c.2023, Hachette Books
$29/320 pages

You don’t usually think of Madonna as complaining of being “dirty all day” from playing baseball. But that’s what the legendary diva did during the shooting of “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 movie, beloved by queers.

“No Crying in Baseball,” the fascinating story behind “A League of Their Own,” has arrived in time for the World Series. Nothing could be more welcome after Amazon has cancelled season 2 of its reboot (with the same name) of this classic film.

In this era, people don’t agree on much. Yet, “A League of Their Own” is loved by everyone from eight-year-old kids to 80-year-old grandparents.

The movie has strikes, home runs and outs for sports fans; period ambience for history buffs; and tears, laughs and a washed-up, drunk, but lovable coach for dramady fans.

The same is true for “No Crying in Baseball.” This “making of” story will appeal to history, sports and Hollywood aficionados. Like “All About Eve” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “A League of Their Own” is Holy queer Writ.

Carlson, a culture and entertainment journalist who lives in San Francisco, is skilled at distilling Hollywood history into an informative, compelling narrative. As with her previous books, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy” and “Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep,” “No Crying in Baseball,” isn’t too “educational.” It’s filled with gossip to enliven coffee dates and cocktail parties.

“A League of Their Own” is based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). From 1943 to 1954, more than 600 women played in the league in the Midwest. The league’s players were all white because the racism of the time prohibited Black women from playing. In the film, the characters are fictional. But the team the main characters play for – the Rockford Peaches – was real.

While many male Major and Minor League Baseball players were fighting in World War II, chewing gum magnate Philip K. Wrigley, who owned the Chicago Cubs, founded the league. He started the AAGPBL, “To keep spectators in the bleachers,” Carlson reports, “and a storied American sport–more important: his business afloat.” 

In 1943, the Office of War Information warned that the baseball season could be “scrapped” “due to a lack of men,” Carlson adds.

“A League of Their Own” was an ensemble of women’s performances (including Rosie O’Donnell as Doris, Megan Cavanagh as Marla, Madonna as Mae, Lori Petty as Kit and Geena Davis as Dottie) that would become legendary.

Girls and women  still dress up as Rockford Peaches on Halloween.

Tom Hanks’s indelible portrayal of coach Jimmy Dugan, Gary Marshall’s depiction of (fictional) league owner Walter Harvey and Jon Lovitz’s portrayal of Ernie have also become part of film history.

Filming “A League of Their Own,” Carlson vividly makes clear, was a gargantuan effort.  There were “actresses who can’t play baseball” and “baseball players who can’t act,” Penny Marshall said.

The stadium in Evansville, Ind., was rebuilt to look like it was in the 1940s “when the players and extras were in costume,” Carlson writes, “it was easy to lose track of what year it was.”

“No Crying in Baseball” isn’t written for a queer audience. But, Carlson doesn’t pull any punches. 

Many of the real-life AAGPBL players who O’Donnell met had same-sex partners, O’Donnell told Carlson.

“When Penny, angling for a broad box-office hit chose to ignore the AAGPGL’s queer history,” Carlson writes, “she perpetuated a cycle of silence that muzzled athletes and actresses alike from coming out on the wider stage.”

“It was, as they say, a different time,” she adds.

Fortunately, Carlson’s book isn’t preachy. Marshall nicknames O’Donnell and Madonna (who become buddies) “Ro” and “Mo.” Kodak is so grateful for the one million feet of film that Marshall shot that it brings in a high school marching band. Along with a lobster lunch. One day, an assistant director “streaked the set to lighten the mood,” Carlson writes.

“No Crying in Baseball,” is slow-going at first. Marshall, who died in 2018, became famous as Laverne in “Laverne & Shirley.” It’s interesting to read about her. But Carlson devotes so much time to Marshall’s bio that you wonder when she’ll get to “A League of Their Own.”

Thankfully, after a couple of innings, the intriguing story of one of the best movies ever is told.

You’ll turn the pages of “No Crying in Baseball” even if you don’t know a center fielder from a short stop.

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Theater

Rupert Murdoch’s powers on full display in ‘Ink’

Media baron helped pave the way for Brexit, Prime Minister Thatcher

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Cody Nickell (Larry Lamb) and Andrew Rein (Rupert Murdoch) in ‘Ink’ at Round House Theatre. (Photo by Margot Schulman Photography)

‘Ink’
Through Sept. 24
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
$46-$94
Roundhousetheatre.org

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s loathsome traits are many, but his skills to succeed are undeniably numerous. 

In the first scenes of John Graham’s West End and Broadway hit drama “Ink,” an exciting year-long detail from the life of a burgeoning media baron, Murdoch’s powers of persuasion are on full display.

It’s 1969 London. Over dinner with editor Larry Lamb, a young Murdoch shares his plan to buy the Sun and rebrand the dying broadsheet, replacing the Daily Mirror as Britain’s best-selling tabloid. What’s more, he wants to do it in just one year with Lamb at the helm. 

Initially reluctant, Lamb becomes seduced by the idea of running a paper, something that’s always eluded him throughout his career, and something Murdoch, the outsider Australian, understands. Murdoch taunts him, “Not you. Not Larry Lamb, the Yorkshire-born son of a blacksmith, not the guy who didn’t get a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, who didn’t get a degree from anywhere. Not you.”

Still, Lamb, played convincingly by Cody Nickell in Round House Theatre’s stellar season-opener, a co-production with Olney Theatre Center, remains unsure. But Murdoch (a delightfully brash Andrew Rein) is undeterred, and seals the deal with a generous salary. 

Superbly staged by director Jason Loweth, “Ink” is riveting. Its exchanges between Lamb and Murdoch are a strikingly intimate glimpse into ambition involving an ostensibly average editor and a striving money man who doesn’t like people.  

Once on board, Lamb is trolling Fleet Street in search of his launch team, played marvelously by some mostly familiar actors. He makes his most important hire — news editor Brian McConnell (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh) — in a steam bath. The remainder of the Sun’s new masthead falls handily into place: Joyce Hopkirk (Kate Eastwood Norris) the women’s page editor whose forward thinking is marred by her casual racism; Zion Jang plays Beverley Goodway, an awkwardly amusing young photographer; persnickety deputy editor Bernard Shrimsley (Michael Glenn) who learns to love ugly things; and an old school sports editor who proves surprisingly versatile, played by Ryan Rillette, Round House’s artistic director. 

At Lamb’s suggestion, the team brainstorms about what interests Sun readers. They decide on celebrities, pets, sports, free stuff, and —rather revolutionarily for the time —TV.  Murdoch is happy to let readers’ taste dictate content and the “Why” of the sacred “five Ws” of journalism is out the window. 

Murdoch is portrayed as a not wholly unlikable misanthrope. He dislikes his editors and pressman alike. He particularly hates unions. His advice to Lamb is not to get too chummy with his subordinates. Regarding the competition, Murdoch doesn’t just want to outperform them, he wants to grind them to dust. 

Loewith leads an inspired design team. Scenic designer Tony Cisek’s imposing, inky grey edifice made from modular walls is ideally suited for Mike Tutaj’s projections of headlines, printed pages, and Rein’s outsized face as Murdoch. Sound designer and composer Matthew M. Nielson ably supplies bar noises and the nonstop, pre-digital newspaper clatter of presses, linotypes, and typewriters.

From a convenient second tiered balcony, the Daily Mirror’s establishment power trio Hugh Cudlipp (Craig Wallace), Chris Lee Howard (Chris Geneback) and Sir Percy (Walter Riddle) overlook all that lies below, discussing new tactics and (mostly failed) strategies to remain on top.   

Increasingly comfortable in the role of ruthless, sleazy editor, Lamb is unstoppable.

Obsessed with overtaking the Daily Mirror’s circulation, he opts for some sketchy reportage surrounding the kidnapping and presumed murder of Muriel McKay, the wife of Murdoch’s deputy Sir Alick (Todd Scofield). The kidnappers mistook Muriel for Murdoch’s then-wife Anna (Sophia Early). Next, in a move beyond the pale, Lamb introduces “Page 3,” a feature spotlighting a topless female model. Awesta Zarif plays Stephanie, a smart young model. She asks Lamb if he would run a semi-nude pic of his similarly aged daughter? His reaction is uncomfortable but undaunted. 

For Murdoch’s purposes, history proves he chose well in Lamb. By year’s end, the Sun is Britain’s most widely read tabloid. Together they give the people what they didn’t know they wanted, proving the pro-Labour Daily Mirror’s hold on the working class is baseless and paving the way for things like Brexit and a Prime Minister Thatcher. 

“Ink” at Round House closes soon. See it if you can.

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