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Calendar: Jan 18-24

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Hadestown’ comes to the Kennedy Center

Levi Kreis discusses return to live theater



Levi Kreis is an out actor who plays Hermes in the national tour of ‘Hadestown’ soon opening at the Kennedy Center. (Photo courtesy of Levi Kreis)

Through Oct. 31
The Kennedy Center
$45.00 – $175.00
For Covid-19 safety regulations go to

Early in September at New York’s Walter Kerr Theatre, out singer/actor Levi Kreis was in the audience for the long-awaited Broadway reopening of “Hadestown,” Anaïs Mitchell’s rousing musical reimagining of the Orpheus myth in which the legendary Greek hero descends into the underworld to rescue his lover Eurydice. 

After almost 18 months of pandemic-induced closure, the Tony Award-winning folk opera was back and the house was full. In a recent phone interview, Kreis describes the evening as “love-filled, and electrifying and emotional after such a difficult time.” Now, Kreis is onstage in the national tour of “Hadestown,” currently launching at the Kennedy Center. As Hermes, the shape-shifting god of oratory, Kreis is both narrator and chaperone to the story’s young lovers. 

A Tennessee native, Kreis, 39, has triumphantly survived turbulent times including a harrowingly prolonged coming out experience that included six years of conversion therapy, education disruptions, and music contract losses. He officially came out through his acclaimed album “One of the Ones” (2006), which features a collection of piano vocals about past boyfriends. And four years later, he splendidly won a Tony Award for originating the role of rock and roll wild man Jerry Lee Lewis in the rockabilly musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” 

Throughout much of the pandemic, Kreis leaned into his own music and found ways to reconnect with his largely gay fan base. But he’s happy to now be touring, noting that all the “Hadestown” cast have been hungering to perform before a real live audience.

When not on the road, he’s based in New York City with his husband, classical-crossover recording artist Jason Antone. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Hermes is the same role for which André De Shields—the brilliant African American actor, also gay, and some decades your elder won a Tony and has resumed playing on Broadway, right?

LEVI KREIS: That’s right. It’s really a testament to the creative team. Rather than laying us over what Broadway created. They’re creating a tour that’s uniquely different; still true to the beauty of the story but with a different flavor. 

BLADE: What attracted you to the part?

KREIS: First, I fell in love with the show. My own musical sensibilities understand the origins of where this music comes from. It’s very bluesy and gospel. Southern and rootsy. And that’s everything I’ve created in my career as a singer/songwriter.

BLADE: With your life experience, do you feel called to mentor?

KREIS: The biggest effort I’ve given to this narrative is being a pioneer of the out-music movement starting in 2005 which was a moment when gay artists were not signed to major labels. I want through eight major labels—when they found out I was gay things always went south. 

It’s been amazing to be a voice in LGBTQ media when no one was speaking about these things. It’s popular now, but back when it mattered it was a lot harder to start my career as an openly gay artist and speak about these issues rather than keep quiet, cash in, and only then come out. 

BLADE: Where did that nerve come from?

KREIS: Less about nerve and more about being beaten down. How many things have to happen before you give up and decide to be honest?  

BLADE: For many theatergoers, “Hadestown” will be their return to live theater. Other than it being visionary and remarkably entertaining, why would you recommend it? 

KREIS: We need encouragement right now. But we also need art that facilitates a lot of important conversation about what’s happening in the world. This has both elements.  

“Hadestown” is not a piece of art that you easily forget. You’re going to walk out of the theater with a story that sticks with you. You’ll realized that your own voice matters. There’s a part in the show, Orpheus’ song, when the gods encourage him to get the balance of the world back again by telling him that his voice matters. 

BLADE: Is it timely?

KREIS: Art is here to change the world. And this piece of art hits the nail right on the head. I’m a purist when it comes to art and song. There’s a reason why we do it. people are listening now in a way they haven’t listened before. To miss that is to miss the role of society, I think. 

BLADE: And going forward? 

KREIS: It’s going to be interesting. We could double down on super commercialized theater or we may decide to really go the other direction and reclaim innovation. That remains to be seen. 

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Book details fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Clinton-era policy was horrific for LGB servicemembers



‘Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
By C. Dixon Osburn
c.2021, self-published $35 hardcover, paperback $25, Kindle $12.99 / 450 pages

When Senior Airman Brandi Grijalva was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, she talked with a chaplain’s assistant about some problems she had at home. The chaplain’s assistant said what she told him would be confidential. But when she revealed that she was a lesbian, the chaplain’s assistant no longer kept her conversation with him confidential. Grijalva, after being investigated was discharged.

Craig Haack was a corporal in the Marines serving in Okinawa, Japan. Haack, who had made it through boot camp, felt confident. Until investigators barged into his barracks. Looking for evidence “of homosexual conduct,” they ransacked everything from his computers to his platform shoes. Haack was too stunned to respond when asked if he was gay.

In 1996, Lt. Col. Steve Loomis’ house was burned down by an Army private. The Army discharged the private who torched Loomis’ house. You’d think the Army would have supported Loomis. But you’d be wrong. The army discharged Loomis for conduct unbecoming an officer because a fire marshal found a homemade sex tape in the ashes.

These are just a few of the enraging, poignant, at times absurd (platform shoes?), all-too-true stories told in “Mission Possible: The Story of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by C. Dixon Osburn.

As a rule, I don’t review self-published books. But “Mission Possible” is the stunning exception that proves that rules, on occasion, are made to be broken.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was the official U.S. policy on gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the military. Former President Bill Clinton announced the policy on July 19, 1993. It took effect on Feb. 28, 1994.

Sexual orientation was covered by DADT. Gender identity was covered by separate Department of Defense regulations.

Congress voted to repeal DADT in December 2010 (the House on Dec. 15, 2010, and the Senate on Dec. 18, 2010). On Dec. 22, 2010, Former President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law. 

DADT banned gay, lesbian and bisexual people who were out from serving in the U.S. military. Under DADT, it was not permitted to ask if servicemembers were LGB. But, LGB servicemembers couldn’t be out. They couldn’t talk about their partners, carry photos of their girlfriends or boyfriends or list their same-sex partner as their emergency contract.

It took nearly a year for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to go into effect. On Sept. 20, 2011, Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “certified to Congress that implementing repeal of the policy {DADT} would have no effect on military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion or recruiting and retention,” Osburn writes.

Before DADT, out LGBT people weren’t permitted to serve in the military. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was intended to be a compromise—a policy that would be less onerous on LGB people, but that would pass muster with people who believed that gay servicemembers would destroy military readiness, morale and unit cohesion.

Like many in the queer community, I knew that DADT was a horror-show from the get-go. Over the 17 years that DADT was in effect, an estimated 14,000 LGB servicemembers were discharged because of their sexual orientation, according to the Veterans Administration.

But, I had no idea how horrific “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was until I read “Mission Possible.”              

In “Mission Possible,” Osburn, who with Michelle Benecke, co-founded the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), pulls off a nearly impossible hat trick.

In a clear, vivid, often spellbinding narrative, Osburn tells the complex history of the DADT-repeal effort as well as the stories of servicemembers who were pelted with gay slurs, assaulted and murdered under DADT.

Hats off to SLDN, now known as the Modern Military Association of America, for its heroic work to repeal DADT! (Other LGBTQ+ organizations worked on the repeal effort, but SLDN did the lion’s share of the work.)

You wouldn’t think a 450-pager about repealing a policy would keep you up all night reading. But, “Mission Possible” will keep you wide-awake. You won’t need the espresso.

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Arts & Entertainment

NSYNC star Lance Bass & husband Michael Turchin welcome twins

Singer, husband, and popular West Hollywood nightclub owner, now adds the job of ‘Dad’ to his resume



Lance Bass and Michael Turchin via Instagram

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Former boy-band NSYNC star and co-owner of the popular LGBTQ+ nightspot Rocco’s, Lance Bass, announced that he and husband Michael Turchin are the proud parents of twins, Violet Betty and Alexander James.

In his announcement on Instagram, Bass wrote; ‘The baby dragons have arrived!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I can not express how much love I feel right now. Thank you for all the kind wishes. It meant a lot. Now, how do you change a diaper??! Ahhhhhhhh!”

The babies were carried via surrogate, the singer noted saying that Alexander, born one minute before his sister on Wednesday, weighed 4 lbs., 14 oz. Violet weighed 4 lbs., 11 oz. Bass said in his Instagram post.

His husband also announced the news on his Instagram account. “Introducing the newest members of the Turchin-Bass household: Violet Betty and Alexander James!!!! They’re pure perfection and yes that includes the dozens of poops we’ve already dealt with. Our hearts our full!!! Thank you everyone for the well wishes 🥰🥰🥰”

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