Connect with us

a&e features

Newseum unveils ‘Rise Up’ Stonewall-themed exhibit

New installation features media and mementos covering AIDS, religion, pop culture and more

Published

on

Newseum, gay news, Washington Blade
(Photo courtesy of the Newseum)

‘Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement’

Newseum

555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Opens Friday, March 8

Through Dec. 31

Family Pride Weekend (March 9-10)

Free admission for two children (18 and younger) with the purchase of one adult ticket.

Saturday, March 9

Activities with mix107.3 street team

Program with Jimmy Alexander of “The Jack Diamond Morning Show” at 2:30 p.m. in Knight TV Studio

Monday, March 18 — A Conversation with Alan Cumming

Thursday, April 4 — Fourth annual Free Expression Awards with Katie Couric and the “Queer Eye” cast

Friday, June 28 — Newseum Nights Party

Full details at newseum.org

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The madras sport coat Jim Obergefell got married in, a red suit worn by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the sewing machine on which Gilbert Baker made the first rainbow flag — all that and much more are part of a new Newseum exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

“Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement” opens Friday, March 8 at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) and runs through year’s end. 

The exhibit explores the modern gay rights movement in the United States marking the 50th anniversary of the June, 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. The protests following the raid are considered the catalyst that inspired the modern gay liberation movement. It’s loosely part of an overall Newseum series “From Selma to Stonewall” that explore significant civil rights movements. 

Patty Rhule, vice president of content and exhibit development at the Newseum, says the exhibit was a relatively easy one to conceive and execute. It’s been in the works for a year or year and a half, she says. 

Upon contacting potential contributors, Rhule says, “I think people were excited. There’s a lot of excitement around this anniversary … and people were excited that we were planning such a big exhibit on this topic. Everybody we reached out to seemed enthused about the idea.”

It opens with a section on LGBT portrayals in pop culture. Actors such as Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”), Cynthia Nixon (“Sex in the City”) and George Takei (“Star Trek”) appear in video installations talking about their experiences as LGBT actors.

Next is an extensive depiction through photos and text of what actually happened at Stonewall and how it was covered (barely) in mainstream media at the time. 

“I think it was the third day before the mainstream press even paid attention and then you see headlines … in The Daily News that use slurs,” Rhule says. 

She says Stonewall’s impact on igniting the modern LGBT rights movement can’t be overstated.

“From this moment on, it’s propelling forward a movement that gets more militant, more radical and more demanding,” says Rhule, who’s straight. “It’s about demanding more than just tolerance, but demanding acceptance.”

There’s also a pre-Stonewall section that depicts Harry Hay, The Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis, early ‘60s gay and lesbian groups that formed and protested in pockets around the country but lacked tailwinds since almost nobody was out at the time. 

“Young people today don’t realize just how repressive it was back then,” Rhule says. “We have headlines from newspapers like the New York Times and Chicago Daily News with horrible headlines, using horrible language that no one would ever use today just to give you an idea of what society and the accepted societal attitudes were. It kind of immerses people in that time.”

Items from gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny (his typewriter), former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (buttons and photos from his same-sex marriage), Harvey Milk (an envelope with bullet holes that was in his jacket when he was assassinated) and more are part of the exhibit as is a wealth of media including two copies of the Washington Blade (founded 1969), The Ladder (a national lesbian publication from 1956-1972), Frontiers (a now-closed Los Angeles gay magazine) and more. (The Blade is a sponsor of the exhibit.)

The Washington Blade is featured in the exhibit. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The AIDS crisis is up next with an AIDS quilt panel from a trans woman who died in 2016, ACT UP newsletters, mainstream coverage of the epidemic and more. 

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Anti-gay quotes from Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant are countered with images of Bishop Gene Robinson (the first openly gay man consecrated Bishop in the U.S.) to show how religion has evolved on LGBT issues. 

“Rise Up” closes with bringing the issues into the present, especially the ongoing battle for transgender rights. As you exit, a large panel features famous LGBT folks such as Janelle Monae, Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Adam Rippon, Ellen DeGeneres and more. 

“We really need to get that Oscar dress in here,” Newseum PR Director Sonya Gavankar says referring to out actor Billy Porter’s gown/suit. “Wasn’t that fabulous?”

A team of about 15 worked on the exhibit along with a handful of contractors in various stages. Most are straight but some LGBT employees were part of the team and outside LGBT folks, such as the Blade’s veteran reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. were consulted on everything from appropriate language to essential issues to cover and include.

“We knew we couldn’t have an all-straight perspective on this,” Maeve Scott, the Newseum’s director of collections and registrar, who worked on securing the items, says. “We came up with a whole glossary and asked a lot of people in the community how they feel about it to make sure we were using the right language.”

Scott says by seeking input from “a lot of people with diverse backgrounds” and “relying on our experts,” the exhibit was planned to be as unbiased as possible.

“It’s definitely something we keep in mind,” she says. 

Attempts were also made to make the display relevant to longtime activists as well as D.C. visitors who may know little or nothing about Stonewall and LGBT history.

“There are always three types of museum visitors,” Rhule says. “Swimmers, skimmers and divers, people who read every word,” she says. “We try to make things look really compelling, give different access points and ways for people to interact. … We have selfie stations, people can pose behind a mic or with a protest sign. There are always going to be different levels of interest and understanding. We’re trying to meet that in the middle.” 

Scott, also straight, hopes visitors will find “Rise Up” inspiring.

“A lot of these people were just everyday people who used their First Amendment rights to enact change,” she says. “If this group did this, other groups can as well and this is not the end of the story.”

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
Continue Reading
Advertisement

a&e features

Baltimore DJ on using music as a bridge to combat discrimination

Deezy brings high-energy show to the Admiral on Jan. 28

Published

on

DJ Deezy has hosted multiple events in D.C. and Baltimore. (Photo by Carlos Polk from We Dream Photography and Studios)

A Baltimore DJ will conclude a month of performances in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. clubs this Friday, Jan. 28, according to the artist’s management. DJ Deezy is set to perform at the Admiral in D.C. at 9 p.m. 

Since the year began, Deezy has hosted electric events at clubs such as Hawthorne DC, DuPont and the Baltimore Eagle Bar & Nightclub. 

The Washington Blade sat down with the DJ to discuss the course of her career. 

The beginning of DJ Deezy’s infatuation with music dates back to her childhood spent between her mother’s house in Baltimore City and her father’s house in the suburbs. 

In Baltimore, Deezy was exposed to the local rap and raw hip-hop scene that inspired her to embark on a rap career in high school. 

Concurrently, she was entrenched in Motown and classic rock by virtue of her singer, songwriter, and guitarist father Ron Daughton’s involvement in a classic rock band. He is a member of “The Dalton Gang” and was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2015.

“Before I embarked on my DJ journey, my father let me record ‘a little 16’ on his tape recorder,” said Deezy. “Eventually, he bought me a wireless microphone that I carried around with me to performances.”

Between her experience as a rapper and watching her father maneuver the classic rock music scene, Deezy acquired varying tastes in music that have influenced how she curates her sets today. 

She “specializes in open format vibes with spins from multiple genres including hip-hop, rap, circuit, and top 40s hits,” according to a summer 2021 press release from her management.

Deezy is also a proud member of the LGBTQ community — she identifies as a lesbian — and this also informs her approach to her work.

“I’m easily able to transition and rock the crowd because I can relate to many different backgrounds,” said Deezy. “I can DJ in places that are predominantly white, Black, or gay [and still do my job effortlessly].”

Centering community

Deezy values representation. Not only because she exists in a field dominated by men, but also because DJs who inhabit other identities aside from being men are less common in the industry. 

The scarcity of Black and lesbian DJs has prompted her to use her career as evidence that people who are different can attract audiences and succeed.

“I want to put us out there especially for Baltimore,” said Deezy. “I know that there’s Black lesbians out there doing the same thing as me, but why aren’t we getting [recognized]?”

In 2018, Deezy rented out a “Lez” lot at the Baltimore Pride block party where she set up a tent and played a set for the crowds tailgating around her. While entertaining them, she distributed her business cards — an act she believes yielded her the contact who eventually got her booked for a residency at the Baltimore Eagle.

While this was a step forward in her career, Deezy acknowledges that it wasn’t without challenges. She likened entering the Baltimore Eagle — traditionally a leather bar frequented predominantly by men —to navigating foreign territory. 

“When I first got there, I got funny looks,” she said. “There’s a lot of these guys who are like, ‘Why are you bringing a lesbian DJ to a gay bar?’”

But Deezy powered through her performance, lifted the crowd from its seats and “rocked the house [so that] no one will ever ask any questions again.” 

She admits that she’s an acquired taste but believes in her ability to play music infectious enough to draw anyone to the dance floor.  

“Feel how you want to feel about a Black lesbian DJ being in the gay bar,” said Deezy. “But music is a bridge that [will] connect us all, and you’ll forget about your original discrimination when you [experience] me.”

While Deezy has mostly performed in the DMV, she has also made appearances in Arizona where she hosted a family event and also in clubs in Atlanta and New York City. 

Her work has also attracted international attention and she was the cover star of  French publication Gmaro Magazine’s October 2021 issue

Looking to the future, Deezy’s goal is to be a tour DJ and play her sets around the world.

“I had a dream that Tamar Braxton approached me backstage at one of her concerts and asked me to be her tour DJ,” she said. “So, I’m manifesting this for myself.” 

In the meantime, Deezy will continue to liven up audiences in bars and clubs around the country while playing sets for musicians like Crystal Waters and RuPaul’s Drag Race celebrity drag queens like Alyssa Edwards, Plastique Tiara, La La Ri, Joey Jay and Eureka O’Hara — all of whom she has entertained alongside in the past. 

Outside the club, Deezy’s music can be heard in Shoe City where she created an eight-hour music mix split evenly between deep house and hip-hop and R&B. 

DJ Deezy (Photo by Carlos Polk from We Dream Photography and Studios)
Continue Reading

a&e features

Rodriquez scores historic win at otherwise irrelevant Golden Globes

Award represents a major milestone for trans visibility

Published

on

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, on right, and Billy Porter in 'Pose.' (Photo courtesy of FX)

HOLLYWOOD – Despite its continuing status as something of a pariah organization in Hollywood, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has managed to cling to relevance in the wake of last night’s behind-closed-doors presentation of its 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards by sole virtue of having bestowed the prize for “Best Leading Actress in a Television Series – Drama” on Michaela Jaé Rodriguez for her work in the final season of “Pose” – making her the first transgender performer to win a Golden Globe.

The ceremony took place as a private, no-press-or-audience event in which winners were revealed via a series of tweets from the Golden Globes Twitter account. No celebrities were present (not even the nominees or winners), although actress Jamie Lee Curtis participated by appearing in a video in which she pronounced her continuing loyalty to the HFPA – without mention of the  longstanding issues around diversity and ethical practices, revealed early in 2021 by a bombshell Los Angeles Times report, that have led to an nearly industry-wide boycott of the organization and its awards as well as the cancellation of the annual Golden Globes broadcast by NBC for the foreseeable future.

While the Golden Globes may have lost their luster for the time being, the award for Rodriquez represents a major milestone for trans visibility and inclusion in the traditionally transphobic entertainment industry, and for her part, the actress responded to news of her win with characteristic grace and good will.

Posting on her Instagram account, the 31-year old actress said: 

“OMG OMGGG!!!! @goldenglobes Wow! You talking about sickening birthday present! Thank you!

“This is the door that is going to Open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS.

“To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!”

Continue Reading

a&e features

As You Are Bar and the importance of queer gathering spaces

New bar/restaurant poised to open in 2022

Published

on

As You Are Bar had a pop-up venue at Capital Pride's "Colorful Fest" block party in October. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than just a watering hole: As You Are Bar is set to be the city’s newest queer gathering place where patrons can spill tea over late-morning cappuccinos as easily as they can over late-night vodka-sodas.

Co-owners and founders Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike built on their extensive experience in the hospitality industry – including stints at several gay bars – to sign a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row, replacing what was previously District Soul Food and Banana Café. In a prime corner spot, they are seeking to bring together the disparate colors of the LGBTQ rainbow – but first must navigate the approval process (more on that later).

The duo decided on this Southeast neighborhood locale to increase accessibility for “the marginalized parts of our community,” they say, “bringing out the intersectionality inherent in the queer space.”

Northwest D.C., they explain, not only already has many gay bar options, but is also more difficult to get to for those who don’t live within walking distance. The Barracks Row location is right by a Metro stop, “reducing pay walls.” Plus, there, “we are able to find a neighborhood to bring in a queer presence that doesn’t exist today.”

McDaniel points out that the area has a deep queer bar history. Western bar Remington’s was once located in the area, and it’s a mere block from the former Phase 1, the longest-running lesbian bar, which was open from 1971-2015.

McDaniel and Pike hope that As You Are Bar will be an inclusive space that “welcomes anyone of any walk of life that will support, love, and celebrate the mission of queer culture. We want people of all ages, gender, sexual identity, as well as drinkers and non-drinkers, to have space.”

McDaniel (she/her) began her career at Apex in 2005 and was most recently the opening manager of ALOHO. Pike (she/they) was behind the bar and worked as security at ALOHO, where the two met.

Since leaving ALOHO earlier this year, they have pursued the As You Are Bar project, first by hosting virtual events during the pandemic, and now in this brick-and-mortar space. They expressed concern that receiving the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) liquor license approval and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, or ANC, approval will be a long and expensive process.

They have already received notice that some neighbors intend to protest As You Are Bar’s application for the “tavern” liquor license that ABRA grants to serve alcohol and allow for live entertainment (e.g. drag shows). They applied for the license on Nov. 12, and have no anticipated opening date, estimating at least six months. If ABRA and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board give final approval, the local ANC 6B and nearby residents can no longer protest the license until the license comes up for renewal.

Until approval is given, they continue physical buildout (including soundproofing) and planning their offerings. If the license is approved, ABRA and the ABC Board can take action against As You Are Bar, like any bar, at any time if they violate the terms of the license or create a neighborhood disturbance that violates city laws such as the local noise ordinance.  In the kitchen, the duo snagged Chef Nina Love to develop the menu. Love will oversee café-style fare; look out for breakfast sandwiches making an appearance all the way until close. They will also have baked goods during the day.

McDaniel and Pike themselves will craft the bar menu. Importantly, they note, the coffee bar will also serve until close. There will be a full bar as well as a list of zero-proof cocktails. As with their sourcing, they hope to work with queer-, minority-, and women-owned businesses for everything not made in-house.

Flexible conceptually, they seek to grow with their customer base, allowing patrons to create the culture that they seek.

Their goal is to move the queer space away from a focus on alcohol consumption. From book clubs, to letter-writing, to shared workspaces, to dance parties, they seek an all-day, morning-to-night rhythm of youth, families, and adults to find a niche. “We want to shift the narrative of a furtive, secretive, dark gay space and hold it up to the light,” they say. “It’s a little like The Planet from the original L Word show,” they joke.

Pike notes that they plan on working closely with SMYAL, for example, to promote programming for youth. Weekend potential activities include lunch-and-learn sessions on Saturdays and festive Sunday brunches.

The café space, to be located on the first floor, will have coffeehouse-style sofas as well as workstations. A slim patio on 8th Street will hold about six tables.

Even as other queer bars have closed, they reinforce that the need is still present. “Yes, we can visit a café or bar, but we always need to have a place where we are 100 percent certain that we are safe, and that our security is paramount. Even as queer acceptance continues to grow, a dedicated queer space will always be necessary,” they say.

To get there, they continue to rally support of friends, neighbors, and leaders in ANC6B district; the ANC6B officials butted heads with District Soul Food, the previous restaurant in the space, over late-night noise and other complaints. McDaniel and Pike hope that once nearby residents and businesses understand the important contribution that As You Are Bar can make to the neighborhood, they will extend their support and allow the bar to open.

AYA, gay news, Washington Blade
Rachel Pike and Jo McDaniel signed a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row. (Photo courtesy Pike and McDaniel)
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular