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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

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.

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

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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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Out & About

CAMP Rehoboth’s final concert of the season is almost here

Chorus performs ‘Music of the Night’

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CAMP Rehoboth Chorus is ready to close out another season.

CAMP Rehoboth Chorus will perform “Music of the Night” on Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. at Epworth United Methodist Church. 

The chorus will sing more than 36 song selections, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I Could’ve Danced All Night” and “In the Still of the Nite.”

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased on CAMP Rehoboth’s website.

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