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Calendar: Jan 18-24

Dances, movies, openings and the MLK parade in the week to come

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gay events dc, gay news, Washington Blade
Frederick, Md., native Nyle DiMarco will celebrate the opening of New Spire Arts’ new theater. (Photo by William Callan)

Friday, Jan. 18

Reel Affirmations screens “The Heiresses” at Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. The film, set in Asunción, Paraguay, tells the story of Chela and Chiquita who are both descended from wealthy families and have been together for more than 30 years. The couple faces financial crisis and Chiquita is sent to prison for fraud. Chela must start her new life without him when she meets Angy, a much younger woman. Rayceen Pendarvis hosts the screening. General admission tickets are $12. VIP tickets are $25 and include VIP seating, one complimentary cocktail, beer or wine and movie candy or popcorn. For more information, visit thedccenter,org/events/theheiresses.

LezLink Events hosts Vibezan R&B social for LGBT women, at XX+ (1926 9th St., N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Wristbands will be available for guests to wear that designate “single,” “taken,” “open,” “poly” and “I have no idea.” There will also be games such as Connect Four, pool, Conversation Dice, Cuff Cards, Uno and more. No dress code. Tickets are $10 and available online. A limited amount of tickets will be available at the door. For more details, visit facebook.com/lezlinkevents.

Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts a “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4” viewing party tonight from 8-9:30 p.m. Trade queens and guest hosts will add commentary throughout the episode. There will be games and prizes. WesstheDJ will spin tracks before, during and after the episode. For more information, visit facebook.com/tradebardc.

The Point in Fells (1738 Thames St., Baltimore) presents Friday Night Drag Brunch tonight from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Robyn Ya’Men hosts the brunch. Performing queens will be announced. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and include a seat and a brunch buffet. $20 bottomless brunch is also available featuring unlimited mimosas, rum punch, sangria, screwdrivers and Natty Bohs. For more details, visit facebook.com/thepoint1738.

A Knyght Productions hosts Miss Gay Northern Maryland’s “The Feather Ball” at The Lodge (21614 National Pike, Boonsboro, Md.) tonight from 8:30 p.m.-2 a.m. The show will honor Miss Gay Maryland 2018 and Miss Gay Northern Maryland 2018, Nicole James, and will crown the 2019 Miss Gay Northern Maryland queen. Performers will include Anastacia Amor, Dezi Minaj, Joanna Blue, Ashley Bannks, Stephanie Michaels, Chi Chi Ray Colby and Rebecca Blaqueout. Pageant starts at 9 p.m. and dance floor opens at midnight. For more information, search “Miss Gay Northern Maryland’s The Feather Ball” on Facebook.

Saturday, Jan. 19

New Spire Arts (115 East Church St., Frederick, Md.) presents the grand opening of its New Spire Stages, its brand new theater, featuring “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Next Top Model” winner Nyle DiMarco. DiMarco, who identifies as sexually fluid, is a Frederick, Md., native and a Maryland School for the Deaf alum. Tango dancer Augusto Balizano will perform and Celeste Miller will premiere a new theater work in collaboration with Frederick-based actors, dancers and musicians. General admission tickets are $55 and student and senior tickets are $41.25. For details, visit newspirearts.org.

Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 23rd St. S Arlington, Va.) hosts its Freddie’s Follies Drag Show tonight from 8-10 p.m. Cover is $5. Drag show starts at 8 p.m. and karaoke begins at 10 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. For more details, visit facebook.com/freddiesbeachbararlington.

LURe D.C. celebrates the 10th anniversary of BARE, a queer women’s dance party, at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. DJ Rosie will play music on the Cobalt level dance floor and DJ Keenan will spin on the Level One floor. Admission is $7 before midnight and $10 after. For more information, visit facebook.com/lurewdc.

Sunday, Jan. 20

Pretty Boi Drag celebrates its three-year anniversary with #PrettyBoiAnniversay at Bier Baron Tavern (1523 22nd St., N.W.) today from 2-5 p.m. The show will feature ASL interpretation. General admission tickets are $20. Anniversary package tickets include one general admission ticket, one limited edition anniversary T-shirt in gold or silver and one Pretty Boi Drag shot glass. For details, visit facebook.com/prettyboidrag.

Panic! at the Disco, featuring pansexual frontman Brandon Urie, plays at Capitol One Arena (601 F St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $30-70. For more information, visit ticketmaster.com.

Monday, Jan. 21

The D.C. Center and the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce march as part of the LGBT Continent in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade today from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All LGBT individuals and organizations are welcome to join. The parade kicks off at noon from Good Hope Road near the Anacostia Park entrance along MLK Avenue to the Rise Center on St. Elizabeth’s campus where the MLK Holiday Festival and Health Fair takes place. The group will meet near the Anacostia Park entrance (1900 Anacostia Dr., S.E.) at 10 a.m. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Tuesday, Jan. 22

Republic (6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.) hosts Alegre Happy Hour, an LGBT happy hour, this evening from 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit republictakoma.com.

Wednesday, Jan. 23

Queer Girl Move Night presents a screening of the 2008 British romantic drama “I Can’t Think Straight” at Denizens Brewing Co. (1115 East-West Hwy., Silver Spring, Md.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. The film tells the story of a Palestinian woman living in London who is planning her wedding in the Middle East. She meets a British-Indian woman who is dating her best friend and the women find themselves falling for each other. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/queergrrlmovienight.

Bier Baron Tavern (1523 22nd St., N.W.) presents Profs and Pints: Hamilton’s History Remix tonight from 6-9 p.m. Richard Bell, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, will examine how accurate the musical is about Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution and the birth of the United States. Bell will lead a discussion on how the musical dramatized and simplified some of the events told in the story. Advance tickets are $12. Tickets at the door are $15. Talk begins at 6:30 p.m. For more details, visit facebook.com/profsandpints.

Thursday, Jan. 24

The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Blackout Thursdays tonight at 9 p.m. This lights-out party includes happy hour until 9 p.m. featuring $2 off all drinks, $10 bottomless Bud/Bud Lights and $12 bottomless premium drafts. Guys who wear harnesses, jocks or underwear will receive $3 rail and domestic drinks. For more information, visit dceagle.com.

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Books

‘Jackie & Me’ puts a refreshing spin on Camelot

Jack’s gay pal narrates fictional take on iconic love affair

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(Book cover image courtesy of Algonquin)

‘Jackie & Me: A Novel’
By Louis Bayard
c.2022, Algonquin
$28/352 pages

It is a truth that is universally acknowledged: A love story will be not only entertaining, but a moving, thought-provoking page-turner, if it has a gay best friend.

“Jackie & Me” by Louis Bayard, the acclaimed gay novelist, isn’t a Jane Austen tale. But Austen would have appreciated Bayard’s witty, poignant, new novel.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, whether you’re Gen Z or a Boomer, you know about Jack and Jackie Kennedy and Camelot.

Yet, Bayard, in his tenth novel “Jackie & Me,” puts a refreshing spin on this story.

The novel is narrated by Kirk LeMoyne (a.k.a. “Lem”) Billings, Jack’s best friend. Lem has been JFK’s pal since they were students at Choate. Though Lem never says “I’m out and I’m proud,” it’s clear that he’s gay.

Lem is JFK’s fixer and court jester. He pays for Jack’s lunch. If Jack’s in the mood, Lem drinks with him. When Jack needs advice on love affairs, Lem’s on it.  

“Jackie & Me” brings us JFK and Jackie before they were iconic.

The novel takes place in 1952. Jackie, 22, then Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, is the “inquiring photographer” for the Washington Times Herald. Jack, 35, is a Massachusetts congressman. They don’t know each other until they meet up at a party in D.C.

What makes “Jackie & Me” so enjoyable is that Lem is our fly on the wall. He takes us along as the couple date, meet the parents, and wed.

Jack is from a wealthy, Irish, Catholic political family. The Kennedys know everyone from Harry and Bess Truman to Henry and Clare Luce to Joe McCarthy.

Jackie’s father, known as “Black Jack,” was a Wall Street stockbroker. Her mother Janet Auchincloss was a socialite. Her stepfather Hugh Auchincloss was a Standard Oil heir. Unlike many women at the time, Jackie is well educated (with a degree in French literature from Washington University and classes at the Sorbonne in Paris). 

Jack loves sleeping with women, but has no love for marriage. Yet he must marry because “my father says I can’t get elected [president] if I’m not married,” he tells Lem.

Knowing that matrimony is in his future whether he likes it or not, Jack thinks Jackie might be the right woman to marry. But he wants to be sure she’s not involved with other men and that, if they wed, she’ll tolerate his extramarital liaisons. He turns to his dependable buddy Lem and asks him to pal around with Jackie – to spy on her.

Lem isn’t thrilled by this. “Who would I be working for,” he says to Jack, “you? Your father ‘the bossman’?”

While Jack’s been busy in Congress and womanizing, he’s been escorting Jackie about town. They’ve gone to the Smithsonian, laughed at bad Loretta Young movies and gone to an amusement park. They’ve become close friends.

If something happens and Jack doesn’t work out, “would you be my back-up husband,” Jackie, who’s caught on to Jack’s foibles, jokes to Lem.

Billings, who lived from 1916 to 1981, maintained ties with the Kennedy family after Jack’s death.

But “Jackie & Me” is, without apology, a fictional work and “an exercise in alternative history,” Bayard writes in the acknowledgments.

Though a work of fiction, “Jackie & Me” feels true. In the novel, Jackie and Lem are outsiders. Jackie isn’t of the Kennedy family and doesn’t, as many women did then, aspire to be a homemaker. Lem was a closeted gay man when homophobia was socially acceptable.

Lem recalls how at Choate, boys who wanted sex or tenderness from other boys, would write notes on toilet paper. “I’m not that kind of boy,” responds Jack on receiving a note on toilet tissue from Lem.

“Jackie & Me” is intriguing because it’s not, at heart, about the romance of a glittering young couple. It’s an Austenesque triangle: the tale of the twists, turns, love and friendship of three compadres.

It’s a charming, elegant summer read.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Movies

Dorian Awards cast a queer eye on television

Netflix favorite ‘Heartstopper’ nabs three nominations

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Kit Conner and Joe Locke in ‘Heartstopper.’ (Photo courtesy Netflix)

As Hollywood gears up for the year’s second “Awards Season” ahead of July 12’s scheduled announcement of the 2022 Emmy nominations, it seems only fitting for us to bring some attention to another awards organization that has already dropped its picks for the year’s best in TV content. We’re referring, of course, to the Dorian Awards, which have been bestowed by the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics since 2009. 

If you’ve never heard of the Dorians, that’s not surprising. In keeping with the entertainment industry’s frustratingly persistent skittishness when it comes to All Things Queer, the Dorians haven’t gotten much attention in the mainstream press – though with a 385-member voting body and a scandal-free history, they are arguably more reputable than the Golden Globes. Named in honor of iconic queer writer Oscar Wilde (as a reference to his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”), they are admittedly low profile when it comes to glitz and glamour, handing out their prizes at an annual “Winner’s Toast” day party instead of a formal evening affair. Nevertheless, they’ve gained traction as Hollywood’s attitudes toward LGBTQ inclusion and representation have shifted, and each of their two annual ceremonies – one for TV, one for film, held about six months apart – draw an increasing number of A-listers to participate, both as nominees and presenters; and while the Dorians may not hold the level of prestige enjoyed by some of the industry’s other awards, at least we can be sure their voting membership won’t overlook queer shows and talent as often as their counterparts at the Motion Picture and Television Academies.

That doesn’t mean the Dorians are exclusively focused on LGBTQ content. The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics – formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, or GALECA – explicitly states that its awards are to honor “the best in film and TV, mainstream to queer+”, while calling attention to the importance of queer contribution and sensibility within the wider culture and reminding “bullies, bigots, and our own at-risk youth that the world loves the sly Q eye on entertainment.” With some state governments and the SCOTUS itself dedicating themselves an all-out assault on the LGBTQ community and its hard-won rights, that last point seems particularly resonant; with so much homo- and transphobic hate pouring its efforts into erasing us, our visibility is more crucial than ever.

Fortunately, as the slate of Dorian nominees announced by GALECA on June 22 reveals, the queer presence on television is strong. No longer segregated to a “niche” genre, the LGBTQ community has finally begun to appear on our screens as it does in life – blended, alongside everyone else, into a world that has room for us all. That’s what ideal inclusion looks like, and it’s heartening – especially now – to see that it has become the norm in so much of the industry’s best offerings.

This year, HBO leads the pack in terms of nods. Two of its heavily queer-inclusive shows, “Hacks” and “Somebody Somewhere,” received five nominations each, while “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus” snagged 4 and 3, respectively. In total, the cable-and-streaming giant got 24, with an additional 13 for programming exclusively on HBO Max, bringing the total to 37.

Coming in second with less than half that number is Netflix. Among its 15 nominations are three nods for “Heartstopper,” the runaway queer fan favorite based on a sweet UK webcomic about two schoolboys in love, and two each for Natasha Lyonne’s brain-twisting time travel dramedy “Russian Doll” and the already-award-winning Korean thriller “Squid Game.”

New series scored high among Dorian voters this year. Besides “Heartstopper” and “Somebody Somewhere,” ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” Showtime’s “Yellow Jackets,” and Apple TV+’s “Severance” each received multiple nominations, with many other freshman titles picking up individual nods.

As for the awards themselves, the Dorians feature fewer overall categories – instead of being split into “gendered” divisions, actors of all genders compete for a single award in each category – and set themselves apart by striking a mildly tongue-in-cheek pose in the presentation of its “special” accolades. In presenting awards like Campiest TV Show or the brand new “You Deserve an Award” award, the Dorians give a tip of the lavender hat to the tradition of Wildean wit at their back – but they also assert the importance of queer perspective when it comes to taste-making and the aesthetic arts.

Nominees for the 14th Annual Dorian TV Awards (honoring shows which debuted June 1, 2021-May 31, 2022) are listed below. Winners will be revealed on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

BEST TV DRAMA: “Better Call Saul”; “Heartstopper”; “Yellowjackets”; “Severance”; “Succession”

BEST TV COMEDY: “Abbott Elementary”; “Barry”; “Hacks”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag Means Death”

BEST LGBTQ SHOW: “Hacks”; “Heartstopper”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag Means Death”; “Somebody Somewhere”; “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

BEST TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES: “Dopesick”; “The Dropout”; “Midnight Mass”; “Station Eleven”; “The White Lotus”

BEST NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE TV SHOW: “Elite”; “Lupin”; “My Brilliant Friend”; “Pachinko”; “Squid Game”

BEST UNSUNG SHOW: “Better Things”; “The Other Two”; “Our Flag Means Death”; “Russian Doll”; “Somebody Somewhere”; “We Are Lady Parts”

BEST TV PERFORMANCE: Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”); Kit Connor (“Heartstopper”); Bridget Everett (“Somebody Somewhere”); Bill Hader (“Barry”); Lily James (“Pam & Tommy”); Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”); Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”); Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”); Jean Smart (“Hacks”); Zendaya (“Euphoria”)

BEST SUPPORTING TV PERFORMANCE: Murray Bartlett (“The White Lotus”); Anthony Carrigan (“Barry”); Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”); Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”); Jeff Hiller (“Somebody Somewhere”); Janelle James (“Abbott Elementary”); Matthew Macfadyen (“Succession”); Christina Ricci (“Yellowjackets”); Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”); Sydney Sweeney (“Euphoria”)

BEST TV MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Beyonce, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aeDlZOD-B0″Be Alive” (94th Academy Awards); Kristin Chenoweth and cast, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PmS5JIfSkk”Tribulation” (“Schmigadoon!”); Bridget Everett and Jeff Hiller, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As-a_bzFrl0″Don’t Give Up” (“Somebody Somewhere”); Jean Smart, “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (“Hacks”); Cecily Strong and cast, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj5mJGyoYIM”Corn Puddin’” (“Schmigadoon!”); Hannah Waddingham and cast, “HYPERLINK “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B0HktX4xqQ”Never Gonna Give You Up” (“Ted Lasso”)

BEST TV DOCUMENTARY OR DOCUMENTARY SERIES: “The Andy Warhol Diaries”; “The Beatles: Get Back”; “How to with John Wilson”; “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known”; “We Need to Talk About Cosby”

BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM: “The Amber Ruffin Show”; “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”; “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”; “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”; “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”; “The Rachel Maddow Show”; “ZIWE” (Showtime)

BEST ANIMATED SHOW: “Arcane”; “Big Mouth”; “Bob’s Burgers”; “Q Force”; “Tuca & Bertie”; “What If…?”

BEST REALITY SHOW: “Legendary”; “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans”; “RuPaul’s Drag Race”; “Survivor”; “Top Chef: Houston”; “We’re Here”

MOST VISUALLY STRIKING SHOW: “Euphoria”; “The Gilded Age”; “Loki”; “Severance”: “Squid Game”

CAMPIEST TV SHOW: “Diana: The Musical”; “Euphoria”; “Girls5Eva”; “Nine Perfect Strangers”; “Schmigadoon!”

WILDE WIT AWARD (to a performer, writer or commentator whose observations both challenge and amuse): Joel Kim Booster; Quinta Brunson; Jerrod Carmichael; Jennifer Coolidge; Bowen Yang

THE “YOU DESERVE AN AWARD!” AWARD (to a uniquely talented TV icon we adore): Gillian Anderson; Christine Baranski; Lynda Carter; Kim Cattrall; Cassandra Peterson

GALECA LGBTQIA+ TV TRAILBLAZER (for creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity): Jerrod Carmichael; Margaret Cho; Russell T. Davies; Kate McKinnon; Bowen Yang

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Photos

PHOTOS: 2022 Baltimore Pride

Annual LGBTQ march held on Saturday

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Baltimore Pride 2022 (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

The 2022 Baltimore Pride Parade was held on Saturday, June 25. The march was followed by a block party and entertainment.

(Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)

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