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Calendar: May 3-9

Youth Pride Day and Gay Day at the Zoo among this week’s highlights

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gay events dc, gay news, Washington Blade
Matthew Morrison performs at the Strathmore Gala Saturday night (photo by Nathan Johnson; courtesy Strathmore)

Friday, May 3

U Street Music Hall (1115A U St., N.W.) hosts Flaunt It Dance Party, sponsored by This Free Life, tonight from 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Special guests Imp Queen, Yuhua Hamasaki and FKA Twink will make appearances. Dee Dee Derèon, Venus Fastrada, Ariel Von Quinn, Washington Heights, Vagenesis and Desiree Dik will perform. DJ Honey will spin tracks. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Show starts at 11:30 p.m. Free entry with RSVP. For details, visit tfl.events/dc.

Catharsis on the Mall, a three-day festival focused on art, dance and healing, kicks off on the National Mall (900 Ohio Dr., S.W.) today at noon through Sunday at noon. There will be large-scale art, workshops, music, activities and speakers. Admission is free. For more information, visit catharsisonthemall.com.

National Symphony Orchestra Pops welcome actress/singer Vanessa Williams for a performance at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. The performance will include pop, R&B and musical theater. Tickets range from $39-99. For more details, visit kennedy-center.org.

Saturday, May 4

“Glee” star Matthew Morrison and Broadway star Shoshana Bean headline Strathmore’s Annual Spring Gala at the Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Ln., North Bethesda, Md.) tonight at 9 p.m. The pair will sing a mix of Broadway hits and American songbook standards. Tickets range from $38-98. Patrons can also attend the Annual Spring Gala dinner with tickets starting at $500. For more details, visit strathmore.org.

Rainbow Families hosts its 2019 conference at Georgetown Day High School (4200 Davenport St., N.W.) today from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. This year’s theme is “Now More Than Ever.” There will be more than 30 workshops for LGBTQ families, prospective parents and allies including Talking with Children and Teens About Adoption, Setting Positive Limits with Preschoolers, Hair Ideas for Kids of Color and more. NBC 4’s Barbara Harrison will be the guest of honor. Trystan Angel Reese is the featured speaker. There will also be age-appropriate activities for children ages 2-and-a-half-16 years old including puzzles, stories, games, improv, outdoor time and more. Adult registration is $90. Breakfast and lunch are included. For more information, visit rainbowfamiliesdc.org.

Youth Pride Alliance and Damien Ministries hosts Youth Pride Day today from noon-5 p.m. in Dupont Circle. Rayceen Pendarvis and Private Tails hosts the event. There will be giveaways, performances, speakers and testimonials. LGBTQ youth 24 years old and younger and allies are welcome. For more information, visit facebook.com/youthpridealliance

Youth Pride Alliance hosts Infatuation Dance at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar (2121 P St., N.W.) tonight from 6-10 p.m. There will be a DJ, food, drinks, face painting and mask making. The event is for LGBTQ youth 24 years old and under. For details, visit facebook.com/youthpridealliance.

Comedian Wanda Sykes brings her “Oh Well Tour” to the Warner Theatre (513 13th St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $37.50-93. For more information, visit warnerthearedc.com.

La Ti Do performs on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight from 6-7 p.m. Rachel Hogan, Tiffany Lynn Royster, Michael Santos Sandoval and Ava Silva will perform with accompaniment by Leigh Delano. Don Michael Mendoza hosts the show. Free admission. For details, visit kennedy-center.org.

Sunday, May 5

Gay Day at the Zoo is at the Smithsonian National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) is today from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be programming for families and youth. LGBTQ people, families and allies are welcome. Attendees can purchase a Gay Day at the Zoo T-shirt online with prices ranging from $10-20. For more information and to purchase a T-shirt, visit thedccenter.org/gayday2019.

Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts the Gay Day at the Zoo Afterparty this evening from 5-8 p.m. The bar will serve its signature cocktail in honor of the day, The Zeebra. A portion of the cocktail’s proceeds will be donated to the D.C. Center. High Heel Race winner Madame Chevitz will perform. Gallery Kitchen will provide free food. There will also be face painting and a chance to take a picture with Alex the Unicorn. For more details, visit facebook.com/tradebardc.

Monday, May 6

Twisted Dinner Show, a drag dinner show, is at Spaceylounge D.C. (2309 18th St., N.W.) tonight from 8-11 p.m. Desiree Dik hosts the show. Bombalicious Eklaver, Bratworst, Bellatrix Foxx and Emma Zon Prime will perform. Admission is $30 and includes your choice of vegetarian pizza quesadilla or cauliflower chicken wings. Ticket price includes unlimited hemp-o-mosas. Seating is at 7 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/spaceyloungedc.

Tuesday, May 7

Gay for Good D.C. hosts a fundraiser at Dacha Beer Garden (1600 7th St., N.W.) today from 4-8 p.m. A wristband is $10 and gives access to an extended happy hour until 8 p.m. All proceeds will support Gay for Good D.C. Extra donations welcome. Gay for Good’s mission is to bring together the LGBTQ community through social welfare and environmental service projects. For more information, visit facebook.com/gayforgooddc.

Wednesday, May 8

Dr. Lane holds a lecture on Black LGBTQ Pride and Black Queer Life in D.C. at Redrocks (1348 H St., N.E.) this evening at 6 p.m. Open discussion starts at 6 p.m. followed by the lecture at 7 p.m. Admission is $20 for the class. Visit facebook.com/thedoctorlane for more details.

D.C. Fray hosts men seeking men speed dating at Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. The event is for men in their 20s and 30s. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit dcfray.com/events.

Thursday, May 9

The 2019 Center Global Annual Reception is at Room and Board (1840 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 6-9 p.m. There will be music, drinks, hors d’oeuvres and more. Rayceen Pendarvis emcees the event. Funds raised from ticket sales will go towards supporting Center Global’s work supporting LGBT asylum seekers, asylees and refugees. Tickets range from $25-1000. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

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Out & About

Studio House, Visual AIDS partner for educational program

Day With(out) Art 2021 to be held at Lamont Plaza

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World AIDS Day is next week.

Studio House and Visual AIDS will join forces for “Day With(out) Art 2021” on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. at Lamont Plaza. 

This event is a community outdoor screening of “Enduring Care,” a video program that highlights strategies of community care within the ongoing HIV epidemic followed by a discussion about the video.

There will be an open house in the neighborhood at the David Bethuel Jamieson (1963-1992) Studio House and Archives featuring newly commissioned work by Katherine Cheairs, Cristóbal Guerra, Danny Kilbride, Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad and Uriah Bussey, Beto Pérez, Steed Taylor, and J Triangular and the Women’s Video Support Project.

For more information, visit Eventbrite

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Forget Santa Claus – Ginger Minj is comin’ to town

‘Drag Race’ alum’s Winter Wonderland Tour stops in D.C. Nov. 29 and 30

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Ginger Minj will perform her holiday spectacular Winter Wonderland Tour at Miracle Theatre.

Ginger Minj is a busy little elf.

From her new country album “Double Wide Diva” to sporadic stints in TV and movies to her upcoming book, “Southern Fried Sass” (which reportedly scored her a six-figure deal), the “Drag Race” diva is everywhere these days, including a venue near you. On Nov. 29 and 30, the new queen of Christmas will perform her holiday spectacular Winter Wonderland Tour at Miracle Theatre.

We recently caught up with the multitalented actress/comedian/singer to discuss her continued success, including making friends with Jennifer Aniston while filming Netflix’s “Dumplin,’” her take on the latest Dave Chappelle backlash, the best Christmas gift she’s ever received, and what exactly makes her the “nicest bitch” this side of the North Pole – but first, let’s take a sleigh ride back to the beginning.

BLADE: Tell me a bit about how you got started in drag and the genesis of Ginger Minj. 

GINGER MINJ: Like most good show-tune-loving queers, I stumbled into drag through musical theater. I auditioned for a show that required either full-frontal nudity or drag, and I figured I would fare better in a wig and heels than nothing at all. I got the role and really took to it quickly. I felt more free and honest as a performer than I ever had before, and I realized I could make a livable income doing something that I was wholly responsible for creating. 

BLADE: How has your appearance on “Drag Race” helped your career, and what are your top takeaways from your time on the show?

GM: It’s an international platform that allows us to introduce ourselves to the entire world. It got me a seat at the table with people and places that refused to even open the door for me in the past. I think there was – and maybe still is sometimes – this initial assumption that drag artists are limited in their talents, but we have been able to show the world that we are just as talented and capable as any other entertainer. I don’t wear a wig as a gimmick. I wear it as an accessory, and it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be taken as seriously as any other actor, singer, etc. “Drag Race” is doing a great job of showing the world that – and I’ll forever be grateful.

BLADE: If folks didn’t catch you on “Drag Race,” they might recognize you from the 2018 Netflix movie “Dumplin’” starring Jennifer Aniston and Dove Cameron. What was your experience like on set, and do you have any other TV/film projects in the works?

GM: “Dumplin’” was the single best experience of my life! Jennifer Aniston brought me coffee every morning, and Kathy Najimy had my trailer moved next to hers so we could listen to Beyoncé and play with makeup. That entire cast and crew treated all of us queens with unbelievable respect. It really gave me a passion for filmmaking and, yes, I’m happy to say there are a few more projects – big screen and small – coming your way soon.

BLADE: What makes you the “nicest bitch you’ll ever meet?”

GM: It’s like those good ole’ southern church ladies who will give you the shirts off their backs but read you to filth for not bringing one of your own. The only thing bigger than my mouth is my heart and the “shady” things I say should never be taken seriously. 

BLADE: As a comedian yourself, what are your thoughts on the latest Dave Chappelle/Netflix controversy?

GM: I’ve always felt like comedy and drag go hand in hand: It’s an outrageous way to start a conversation and make people confront their own feelings about anything and everything. That being said, I think there’s a way to do that without disparaging and discrediting an entire group of human beings. I think it’s shameful that someone with that great of a platform would choose to punch down. 

BLADE: Your new single “Walk Tall” is about growing up gay in the South – and it’s a very good song. Radio worthy even, but a hard sell, given its content, to a country-music audience. How do you think that changes? Will LGBTQ+ country artists ever enjoy the kind of success their straight counterparts do?

GM: I think so. To be completely honest with you, I’ve gotten much more support for that album from the country community than I have from the drag world. The message is so universal, and we were very careful to do it in an authentic, simple way. When we stop focusing on our differences and start embracing our similarities, the world can change. I just do the things that make me happy and hope it finds the people who need to hear it. 

BLADE: Christmas is just around the corner – do you prefer giving or receiving? What’s your most prized Christmas present from the past?

GM: I’m definitely a giver! I drive myself crazy for months researching and planning and looking for the perfect gifts for everyone. It’s my way of showing the people I care most about that while I may be busy, I’m listening. I hear them, I see them, and I appreciate them. The best Christmas present I ever got was a cheap plastic pair of ruby slippers from my mama when I was a kid. I still have them. That moment changed my life forever. It’s what actually inspired “Walk Tall.”

BLADE: Like Santa Claus himself, the Ginger Minj Winter Wonderland Tour 2021 is coming to town. What do you have in store for audiences this holiday season?

GM: What don’t we have in store?! There are 20 costume changes, instructional videos gone terribly wrong, singing, dancing, magic tricks, fog machines, comedy, and it even snows over the audience! This is the biggest, prettiest, most ambitious show we have ever put together.

BLADE: Looking forward to 2022, what’s in the works? What are a few of your New Year’s resolutions?

GM: So many great things — more music, some movies, some TV, a stage production of “La Cage aux Folles” in Chicago, and my book “Southern Fried Sass” will hit the shelves. It’s a great time to be the “Glamour Toad,” and I am grateful every single day. 

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels.

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Children’s Beach House to host holiday fundraiser

Music by artists Pamala Stanley and 2nd Time Around

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Pamala Stanley performs at a fundraiser for the Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Del., on Dec. 3. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Del., will begin its weekend-long fundraiser with an annual holiday party on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will include a live auction, cocktails, dinner by Touch of Italy and music by artists Pamala Stanly and 2nd Time Around. This fundraiser will help support CBH’s work with children and families. Tickets are $150.

The celebrations will continue with a “Santa’s Workshop” event on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. This event will include cookie decorating and making holiday crafts, among other events. There will also be a cash bar available with bloody mary’s and mimosas for those 21 years and older. Tickets cost $30.

CBH will end the weekend with “Happy Hour With the Boy Band Project” on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. This event will be a musical performance by an electric boy band cover group, which was named “Best Group” by the 2019 Broadway World Awards that re-imagines the sound, movement, and energy of NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, One Direction, and more. Tickets are $150. Visit cbhinc.org for more information.

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