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Calendar: May 10-16

Screenings, parties and events in the week to come

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Jill Biden will be at Sixth & I May 14. (Photo courtesy Flatiron Books)

Friday, May 10

D.C. Bear Crue presents Jail and Bail at Uproar Lounge and Restaurant (639 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7-10 p.m. Attendees can pay $5 to have someone arrested, frisked and jailed by motorcycle men in leather. The inmate has to spend five minutes in jail or pay $5 to bail themselves out of jail early. All inmates will receive a full body search. There will be $5 rail cocktails, $5 32 oz. draft pitchers and free appetizers. For more information, visit facebook.com/bearhappyhour.

Gamma D.C., a support group for men in mixed-orientation relationships, meets at Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Ave., N.W.) tonight from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The group is for men who are attracted to men but are currently, or were at one point, in relationships with women. For more information about the group, visit gammaindc.org

Saturday, May 11

May Is? All About Trans presents its inaugural art exhibition curated by Matt Storm at Westminster D.C. (400 I St., S.W.) today from 3-5 p.m. Participating artists include Ahanu, Alex Ramirez, Ameirah Neal, Dorian Blue, Edith Flores, Kay Wrenn, Sir Max Even, Molly Stratton, Nona Conner, Star Bennett from Check It Enterprises, Yuri Littlebear, Zayn Thiam and Xemi Tapepechul. All artists identify as transgender, non-binary, two-spirit, genderqueer, gender-fluid or a-gender. There will be an open mic from 5-7 p.m. followed by a film screening from 7-9 p.m. For details, visit mayistransdc.com.

Uproar Lounge and Restaurant (639 Florida Ave., N.W.) hosts Nicks Flix 2, presented by Night of 1000 Stevies DJ Travis Island, tonight at 10 p.m. DJ Travis Island will remix video edits of Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Suggested dress code is Stevie Nicks-inspired. For more information, visit facebook.com/uproarloungedc.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) presents Arty Queers: a LGBTQ art market, today at 11 a.m. Local LGBTQ artists will sell their working including paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry, glass work, textiles and clothing. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Distrkt C hosts Leather Pride at Karma D.C. (2221 Adams Pl., N.E.) tonight from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2019 Emerson Aniceto and Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2018 Gerard Turner host the party. DJ Oscar and DJ Edgar Velazquez will play music. There will also be a leather market. Cover is free before 11:15 p.m. and $30 after. For more information, visit distrktc.com.

Sunday, May 12

DCATS hosts Masculinizing through Fitness: a discussion for Transmasc folx at Whitman-Walker Health (1525 14th St., N.W.) today from 5-7 p.m. This will be a facilitated discussion on fitness and techniques to masculinize the bodies whether you’re on hormones or not. The meeting will start at 5:05 p.m. If you’re late, text the number on the door and a DCAT member will get you. Binder donations will be accepted. There will also be a needle/syringe exchange. DCATS meetings are open to trans men, non-binary, gender-queer and questioning individuals. For more information, visit dcats.org.

Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts its Spring Yard Sale, a pop-up flea market, today from 2-6 p.m. If interested in selling, message Trade on Facebook or email [email protected].

Uproar Lounge and Restaurant (639 Florida Ave., N.W.) hosts CopCakes for a Cause, a wine and dessert tasting and silent auction, today from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include wine, soda, cupcakes and desserts from local D.C. bakeries. A full cash bar will be open. Ticket sale proceeds will benefit the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund and silent auction proceeds will benefit the Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization that provides resources to rebuild the lives of surviving families and co-workers of law enforcement officers who have died on duty. For details, visit facebook.com/lgbtfallenheroes

Monday, May 13

LGBT Fallen Heroes Memorial Service is at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (2 Memorial Ave., Arlington, Va.) today from 2-5 p.m. Volunteers will read stories aloud about fallen heroes. The flags flown over Washington in their honor will be presented to the hero’s significant other. The significant others will also be given a commemorative portrait of their loved one. The memorial precedes the Candle Light Vigil for National Police Week. For more information, visit facebook.com/lgbtfallenheroes.

Busboys and Poets Anacostia (2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E.) presents a screening of the documentary “From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?” tonight from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The screening is part of Busboys and Poets’ Focus In! Film Series. After the screening, there will be a panel discussion with Bishop Gene Robinson; Ashley Smith, board president of Capital Pride Alliance; Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of Washington D.C. Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs; and Rebecca York, SMYAL’s community engagement and youth leadership coordinator. For details, visit facebook.com/busboysandpoets.

Tuesday, May 14

Jill Biden discusses her memoir “Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself” at Sixth and I Synagogue (600 I St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. The memoir chronicles her first heartbreak, her relationship with then U.S. Senator Joe Biden, and how she balanced life as a wife and mother. Tickets are $45 and include one book. Doors open at 6 p.m. For details, visit sixthandiorg.

Desiree Dik and Bombalicious Eklaver host drag bingo at Red Bear Brewing (209 M St., N.E.) tonight at 7 p.m. Bingo is free to play and there will be prizes. Attendees can’t join in the game mid-round. There will be six games in two hours. For more information, visit redbear.beer.

Wednesday, May 15

Going the Extra Mile, a benefit for Whitman-Walker’s Legal Services, is at City Winery (1350 Okie St., N.E.) tonight from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The cocktail reception will raise funds and celebrate the staff, volunteers and allies working to give every person the legal right for equality and inclusion. Monika Nemeth will receive the 2019 Robert Fenner Urquehart Memorial Award and Akin Gump of Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP will receive the 2019 Stonewall Award. Tickets start at $200. For more information, visit whitman-walker.org.

Thursday, May 16 

Venus Valhalla hosts Thirst Trap Thursdays at Pitchers D.C. (2317 18th St., N.W.) tonight at 11 p.m. Drag queens from throughout the DMV area will perform. After the show, there will be dancing until 1:30 a.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/pitchersdc.

Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts a viewing party of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 11 tonight from 9-10:30 p.m. Desiree Dik hosts the party. WesstheDJ will spin tracks during the episode and after. There will be games and free drinks. Happy hour is extended until 10 p.m. For more details, visit facebook.com/tradebardc.

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Miscellaneous

D.C. homebuyers face hyper competitive market

Sellers in driver’s seat as region faces record low inventory

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With job growth rising during a period of aggressive government spending and historically low mortgage rates, the spring 2021 market sits at the lowest level of inventory since 1983.

Homebuyers in the D.C. area continue to face an incredibly competitive market. This is truly a seller’s market.

Lack of Inventory: Washington, D.C. has been in a gradually worsening housing shortage since the Great Recession. The area hasn’t had a six-month supply of homes for sale for almost 12 years. Now, we add a global pandemic that seriously altered what homeowners want out of their home, Wall Street on fire, and insanely low interest rates and we get a surge in motivated homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of homes nationwide reached a record low in December 2020, with just 1.07 million properties on the market. The DC metro area is even worse off than the national average with only one month’s supply of homes. That means if new listings were completely dried up, there would be no homes available in four weeks. On average, D.C. homes have been selling within 11 days, which is 15 days faster than this time in 2020.

Seller’s Market: The time is now for Washington, D.C. homeowners to seriously consider selling their homes if they have played with the idea. Experts predict 2021 will be another strong housing market with an increase in demand from existing homebuyers in search of larger homes and buyers who delayed purchasing a home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Zillow forecasts a nearly 30 percent annual growth in homes for sale in 2021. This would be the largest home sales growth since 1983. Zillow’s annual report stated, “Home price appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession, as the inventory crunch continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of homes for sale.”

D.C.’s Current Market: According to the NAR, in March of 2021, D.C. home prices had increased 4.1% compared to March 2020, for a median price of $635,000. There were 1,004 homes sold in March 2021, an increase from 842 at this time last year.

We are seeing many homes receive multiple offers within just a few days in the D.C. area. The average home is selling a little above 1% of the listing price and many hot homes are seeing large bidding wars and selling for 3% or more above the listing price; 42.7% of D.C. homes sold above list price in March of 2021. That is a 13.4% increase from last year at this time. Active inventory for March of 2021 was 1,457 homes, down 9% from March 2020. March 2021 also saw 991 homes sell in the D.C. area, an increase of 31% from February of 2021. March 2021’s total homes sold had a 19% increase from March 2020.

Buying a Home: In the current seller’s market, buying a home can be like playing a chess match. You need to know the rules and be strategic. It can seem more like winning than purchasing a home right now. If you find a home you want to buy, chances are you won’t be the only one making an offer. It is a seller’s market everywhere in the country right now and D.C. is no different. Be sure you know what you qualify for and what you can afford.

Conclusion: The NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association both project prices of existing homes to increase 5.9% in 2021. This may mean buyers will have to be more flexible than in the past. For example, making an offer contingent upon the sale of a current home may be harder than before. It’s also possible you will pay more than the list price. The D.C. real estate market is on fire and many homes are off the market within 24 hours of listing. For sellers, if you have been thinking of selling your home there is no better time than the present.

 

Khalil El-Ghoul is Principal Broker for Glass House Real Estate. Reach him at [email protected] or 571-235-4821. Glass House Real Estate is a modern, more affordable way to buy and sell a home in the D.C. Metro area. Learn more about what makes us different at glassshousere.com.

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Miscellaneous

Kick-ass crossovers

Still the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms

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Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Crossovers keep wending their way into our driveways—and our hearts. After overtaking sedans, station wagons and minivans as the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms, crossovers are now taking aim at the most quintessential of American rides: the muscle car. With naughty looks and hepped-up engines, the two dynamite crossovers below are sure to blow your mind—and just maybe your budget.

DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT
$81,000
Mpg: 12 city/17 highway
0 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds

For more than 20 years, the Dodge Durango has been a solid if nondescript family hauler. But this year the automaker jazzed up its midsize crossover with brawnier styling and the latest tech toys. And for the first time, Dodge is offering a limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat—a high-test model with the same hellacious Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger super coupe and Charger sport sedan. With 710 horsepower, this blazingly fast crossover can kick some serious ass, outrunning many a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The upgraded suspension provides more dynamic handling and cornering, as well as selectable steering for better grip. For straight-line acceleration and to prevent nasty fish-tailing, I simply flipped the “launch control” toggle switch. The massive Brembo brakes also were stellar, with stop-on-a-dime performance and flaming red calipers on each wheel. Another plus: the iconic Hellcat exhaust rumble could be heard blocks away—music to the ears of any auto aficionado. As with all Durangos, this bruiser has best-in-class towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, including more room than expected for third-row passengers. The steering wheel, dash, and trim accents now have trendy Euro styling, though it’s more VW than upscale Audi. And you can opt for flashy seatbelts and premium seats in a color Dodge calls Demonic Red, along with black velour floor mats and a soft-touch headliner. Other features include heated/ventilated seats, a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration and the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once. Options include a 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and rear-seat entertainment with Blue-Ray player. Alas, this is a limited-edition model and all 2,000 of these speed demons quickly sold out months ago. But there’s still hope: Dodge allocated some of the racy Durangos to select dealerships, so you can call around to see if any are still available. And you can always try social media to find a lucky Durango Hellcat owner who just might be willing to sell this rollicking ride, if the price is right.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER X
$85,000
Mpg: 17 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds

For decades, both the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover have been ubiquitous in the United States. Not so the smaller and less ostentatious Defender, often seen as a work-horse vehicle in BritBox reruns or action flicks like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But last year the Defender returned to these shores after nearly a quarter-century hiatus.

Available in two- or four-door models, both Defenders start around $50,000. My test vehicle was the new top-of-the-line Defender X, which added—yikes!—another $35,000 to the sticker price. The look on these crossovers is boxy chic, which allows for a ginormous amount of headroom, legroom and cargo space. Land Rover also added extra stowage areas and cubby holes, as well as transom windows and a sliding panoramic sunroof to keep things airy. While the cabin may be sparse and full of solid plastics, the walnut trim on the center console and door panels is quite elegant.

Land Rovers have a somewhat infamous reputation for less-than-stellar electronics, but the 10-inch touchscreen was crystal clear and synced up seamlessly with the infotainment system. Tricked out with a jet-black roof, hood, and side cladding, the press vehicle I test drove was painted a haughty Eiger Gray Metallic. It also came with thick all-terrain tires, adding to a slightly menacing vibe. A full-size spare is conveniently mounted on the vertical tailgate, which swings completely open like a refrigerator door for easy access. The Defender X may not be as lightning quick as a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but it’s still plenty fast. And this brute can tackle the toughest of terrains, thanks to locking differentials, hill-descent control and a standard air suspension that can raise the chassis 11.5 inches above the ground. Overall, the Defender X can’t quite hide its refined roots as a tony Land Rover. But as with the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, this burly crossover flexes some serious muscle.

Land Rover Defender X

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Miscellaneous

A closer look at the houses in our fave holiday films

The role of architecture in Christmas storytelling

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Ralphie’s house in ‘A Christmas Story’ is available for special events and even weddings. (Photo courtesy AChristmasStoryHouse.com)

We’re in the midst of the Hallmark season. Their movies are available 24/7 and they can serve as both light entertainment and as background noise.

The formula is simple: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, and she moves to some rural place with plenty of snow rather than live in the city where she is harried, overworked, and financially successful. Thankfully, Hallmark is finally branching out to boy meets boy and girl meets girl like Dashing in December and The Happiest Season, but the formula remains pretty much the same except that someone is still in the closet.

As a real estate agent, I tend to focus on things like architecture and décor when I watch the original classics and those that have become traditional in more recent years.

There are extreme exteriors like the Griswold house in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Deck the Halls, where the Halls and the Finches argue over how many exterior lights are too many.

One of my favorite movies is The Holiday, where Iris and Amanda exchange homes for Christmas vacation. Iris’s house is the quintessential stone cottage in a quaint English village. You can just feel how cold the house is until the fire is lit.

Amanda’s house, on the other hand, is a gorgeous Mediterranean built in the late 1920s, with a barrel tiled roof, located in San Marino, Calif. There are lots of contemporary touches inside, including automatic window shades and a kitchen to die for. While the house’s exterior is real, the interior was specifically constructed on a separate soundstage to transform it from traditional to contemporary.

The kitchen in A Christmas Story reminds me of my maternal grandparents’ home in Maine. It was a three-bedroom, one-bath upstairs apartment over my grandfather’s general store. We would sit around the table chatting while my Nana uncovered the dough that she would use to bake bread.

She would peel off little bits of dough to deep fry and we would eat them with locally made butter for breakfast (think hush puppies with dough instead of cornmeal). The whistle from the nearby, malodorous paper mill called us to lunch at that same table. At one, the whistle would blow again to call the townsmen back to work.

The incredibly large Georgian Colonial home in Home Alone, also from the 1920s, always made me wonder what Mr. McCallister did for a living that he could afford the mortgage. Today, that house in the Chicago suburban village of Winnetka, Ill., would command roughly $3 million.

The Victorian Four Square showcased in The Family Stone reminds me of the homes in 16th Street Heights, with large wrap-around porches, wide moldings, wainscotting and what looks to be William Morris wallpaper. And who could forget the Smith’s family home in Meet Me in St. Louis, an impressive Victorian Second Empire, where the songbird, Judy Garland, wooed us with her rendition of Merry Little Christmas.

The Columbia Inn with its adjacent ski lodge became the set for White Christmas. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye sang and danced their way into our hearts. The lodge had floor to ceiling atrium windows and held about three dozen tables for dinner. It was beautifully decorated for the holiday, with the red of poinsettias and the green of World War II uniforms.

Also lovely were the Christmas tree and arched doorways in the 1947 Cary Grant film, The Bishop’s Wife (not to be confused with Denzel Washington’s 1996 remake, The Preacher’s Wife, which seems to take place as much outdoors as indoors).

How can we possibly talk about Christmas movies without mentioning the drafty, old house of It’s a Wonderful Life? The Old Granville House is another example of Second Empire Victorian (1860s to 1880s). In the beginning of the movie, it’s what we would call a fixer upper, without the shiplap and open floorplan favored by Chip and Joanna Gaines. Mary Bailey, wife of George, does an excellent job of cleaning and wallpapering (and, we hope, replacing windows) to transform an ugly duckling into the swan that is the family home.

Finally, Miracle on 34th Street is still one of my favorite Christmas movies, as much for the independence of the single mother and trial of Santa Claus as for the yellow Cape Cod that a young Natalie Wood is presented with once she learns to believe in Santa. Perhaps if you believe in Santa again, someone will bring you a house next year too.

Wishing you happiness and good health this holiday season.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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