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Calendar: Aug. 16-22

Shows, parties and events in the week to come



Madonna, gay news, Washington Blade
A Madonna Birthday Dance Party is being held Friday night from 9 p.m.-midnight at the Black Cat. (Photo by chrisweger via Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, Aug. 16

The Madonna Birthday Dance Party is tonight from 9 p.m.-midnight at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.). Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Attendees are invited to come early for the “Hung Up” happy hour from 9-10:30 p.m. featuring chill tracks and deep cuts from Madonna’s extensive catalogue. The night will be filled with hits, misses, remixes and collaborations all to celebrate the material girl’s 61st birthday. Tickets are available on

Broke Royals and Mystery Friends perform tonight at DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.) from 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $10. Called “one of the best live bands in D.C.” by CBS news, Broke Royals has headlines festivals and performed with AWOLNATION, Dashboard Confessional and more. Mystery Friends is a band rooted in the D.C. music tradition and has been compared to Talking Heads. For tickets and information visit

Saturday, Aug. 17

“Dear Evan Hansen” continues its run at the Kennedy Center today with shows starting at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets start at $79 and are available at The website advises seats often become available at the last minute, so call or visit to check availability. Winner of six Tony awards, this musical resonates with anyone who has ever felt like an outcast looking for a chance to fit in. Show runs through Sept. 8.

Sunday, Aug. 18

The Shoff Promotions comic book and sports card show is today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Double Tree hotel (1960 Chain Bridge Rd., Tysons Corner, Va.). The main ballroom will be filled with top area dealers in gold, silver, bronze and modern age comics as well as nonsports trading card games such as Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering. Other featured collectibles include vintage rock albums, anime, superhero figures and sports memorabilia. Admission is $3; 12 and under are free. Visit for more information. 

“The Life of Animals in Japanese Art” exhibition closes today at the National Gallery of Art (4th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.). Admission is free and gallery hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. The first exhibition devoted to Japanese representations of animals, real and imaginary, covers 315 works over 16 centuries and is showcased across 18,000 feet of display space. Featured artists include Murakami Takeshita, Nara Yashimoto, Kusama Yayoi and more. For more information visit

Monday, Aug. 19

The Kennedy Center continues its Millennium Stage free concert series with The Glissandos tonight at 6 p.m. This duet of two French-American brothers features soaring cello and fiddle harmonies from their new album, “Just Sliding.” Their music is a blend of folk, bluegrass and jazz and is sure to intrigue audiences looking for something new and entertaining to enjoy on a Monday night. For more information, visit

Tuesday, Aug. 20

“The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement” art exhibition continues through Sept. 22 at the Phillips Collection (1600 21st St., N.W.). Curated in partnership with the New Museum in New York, this display features more than 75 artists wrestling with global refugee crises both throughout history and in this current moment. “The Warmth of Other Suns” uses video, installations, paintings, documentary images, sculptures and other cultural materials to immerse visitors in stories of strength and resilience. Admission is $12 for adults; $10 for students and seniors; free for 18 and under. Visit for more information. 

Wednesday, Aug. 21

“LGBTQ Enterprising Women: Learning from the Past and Embracing the Future” is a networking event featuring a panel discussion taking place tonight from 6-9 p.m. at the Keegan Theater (1742 Church St., N.W.) and presented by the Washington Blade. Panelists include Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar, Rebecca Linder of Linder Global Events, Ebone Bell of Tagg Magazine and Lynne Brown of the Washington Blade. Elizabeth Birch, vice president of CBRE, moderates. For tickets and information, visit

Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, will discuss Ronald Firbank’s 1926 novella “Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli” tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. in the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W., Suite 105). Firbank, an early 20th century British author, was inspired by Oscar Wilde and often critiqued religion, social-climbing and sexuality. Additionally, his satirical works, “Sorrow in Sunlight,” “Valmouth,” and “Santal” reflect the difficult racial and colonial tropes of the time. Visit for more information.

Thursday, Aug. 22

The D.C. Improv comedy club and restaurant (1140 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) presents “Couples Therapy: A Comedy Show” with Rahmein Mostafavi tonight at 7:30 p.m. This show is a round-table discussion featuring comics and willing audience members led by socio-political comedian Mostafavi. Audiences will be entertained by a humorous discussion about love, dating, sex, single-hood and married life. Tickets are $12 for this 18-and-up event and there is a two-menu item minimum per ticket. For more information, visit dcimprov-com.

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Out & About

Must-attend events in D.C. this fall

Mix of in-person and virtual exhibits, brunches, and more



fall LGBT virtual events, Washington Blade
SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2018 Fall Brunch. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Last year, the pandemic forced many event planners to cancel their projects or move everything entirely online. However, this year, with the number of vaccinated people increasing and the mask mandate in place, events are slowly returning to the in-person format. Check out the list below for a good mix of both in-person and virtual events to watch out for this fall:

Smithsonian Associates will be hosting “Palestinian Embroidery 101: The Tatreez Sampler Series” on Friday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. This online event teaches the art of Palestinian embroidery including the basic Palestinian cross-stitch and how to create a tatreez sampler, using Aida cloth fabric. The class will be taught by Wafa Ghnaim who began her training in embroidery with her mother at age 2. Visit the Smithsonian’s website for more information.

Join Capital Pride Alliance virtually to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. This event will focus on “[supporting] the continuous fight for full inclusion for transgender and intersex servicemembers.” Keynote speakers include former Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, and Jennifer Dane, Air Force veteran and Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America. Guests will get to hear extraordinary stories from service members of all branches and learn more about the fight for the codification of transgender military service and the effort to lift the ban on service for intersex individuals and folks living with HIV. For more information, visit Capital Pride Alliance’s website.

The 2021 LGBTQ Intergenerational Symposium will be on Thursday, Sept. 23. This is a free two-day virtual event sponsored by the DC Department of Aging and Community Living, Capitol Hill Village, and the DC Villages and is open to LGBTQ individuals and allies of all ages. There will also be a virtual kickoff for attendees, speakers, and organizations that are involved to get to know each other. Each day will include two health and wellness sessions, one panel, and breakout session.

The Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will host New Vistas in Astronomy: Imaging a Black Hole on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. This event will celebrate the 51st year of the New Vistas in Astronomy lecture series at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO). There will be speakers from across the many scientific divisions of the Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian led by founding director of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Shep Doeleman. 

DC Front Runners will host its 40th anniversary party on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Jack Rose Dining Saloon at 3 p.m. This event will be held outside on the large roof deck. Tickets for this event are $35 and cover two drinks, passed appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. You are welcome to open a tab at the bar after your drink tickets have been used. Drink tickets for paid attendees will be available starting mid-September at the runs, and also available day of the event by contacting Josh Yankovic. More information about this event is available on DC Front Runners’ website.

All Things Go and the Capital Pride Alliance are joining forces to launch “Club Pride”, a third stage and dance party at the All Things Go Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 16. This all-day event will feature special intimate artist performances, DJ sets, special guests and more throughout the day. Access to Club Pride is included with all festival tickets. Club Pride is located at Merriweather Post Pavilion’s 9:32 Stage. For more information, visit Capital Pride Alliance’s website.

Capital Pride Alliance will host the first ever “Colorful Fest” that will include a block party and street fair on Sunday, Oct. 17. The Street Fair will feature small independent businesses, community groups, artisans, and food along 15th Street. The Block Party will include entertainment, an As You Are Bar pop-up, and dancing throughout the day for guests 21 and over. For more details, visit Capital Pride Alliance’s website.

Smithsonian Associates presents “The Philosophical Thought of Thomas Aquinas” on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. This event will be hosted online and Aquinas scholar Gregory T. Doolan will explore Aquinas’s philosophical thought. Thomas Aquinas’s work presents one of Western civilization’s most comprehensive philosophical systems. Although a theologian by profession, this man of faith dedicated much of his vast writings to discerning what the human mind can learn independently of faith. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s website. 

“SMYAL’s Annual Fall Brunch” will be on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis. This event ​​includes a cocktail reception featuring a silent auction, three-course brunch, and a chance to hear from some of the LGBTQ community’s most inspiring leaders. This event will bring together LGBTQ individuals and allies, friends, and families in support of the inspirational youth SMYAL works with every day. For more information, visit SMYAL’s website.

DC Area Transmasculine Society (DCATS) will host “Transmasculine and Nonbinary Social Hour on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at Red Bear Brewing Company. At this social hour, DCATS will be accepting binder donations and will also give out needles to those who are in need. All partners and friends are required to be accompanied by a transmasculine individual. The event is reservation-only, and you can RSVP online on Eventbrite. 

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Arts & Entertainment

Lil Nas X heads up new role at Taco Bell

The 22-year-old musical artist, now riding the success of two global No. 1 hits was an hourly wage earner as part of a Taco Bell team in 2017



Lil Nas X (Screenshot courtesy of Taco Bell)

The iconic American fast-food chain serving Mexican-inspired fare such as tacos, quesadillas and nachos has a new pitchman, former Taco Bell employee and now Grammy award winning rapper & singer-songwriter Lil Nas X, (real name Montero Lamar Hill).

In an announcement Monday, Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell commented that “Lil Nas X knows the job, the experience and the culture Taco Bell creates for its fans – including its people,” King added; ““This unique partnership will deliver on more than just marketing, allowing us to tap into the genius of Lil Nas X to inspire our team members and align with our commitment to unlocking opportunities for young people.”

As a cultural icon with an insider’s perspective on the Taco Bell team member experience, Lil Nas X has been appointed the title of ‘Chief Impact Officer,’ a newly created role that will allow him to collaborate on the brand experience from the inside out.

The 22-year-old musical artist, who catapulted to fame and now is riding the success of two global No. 1 hits in “Old Town Road” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” was an hourly wage earner as part of the Taco Bell team at an Atlanta-area restaurant in 2017.

Two years later as a successful up and coming musical artist, on June 30, 2019, the last day of Pride Month, he came out publicly as gay tweeting: “some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure. 🌈🤩✨”

(Courtesy of Taco Bell)

In today’s announcement the company acknowledged his ascendency to artistic celebrity as well as his sexual orientation.

Back in 2017, Lil Nas X laid down roots working at an Atlanta-area Taco Bell as a team member and less than five years later he’s ascended to stardom by defying conventions, charting his own course and remaining authentically true to himself – all things that Taco Bell stands for in its own way.”

As part of his new role, Lil Nas X will support the Taco Bell Foundation’s mission and help announce awards to recipients of the Live Más scholarship to enable them to pursue their creative passions. The Taco Bell Foundation breaks down barriers to educate and inspire the next generation of America’s leaders.

Since 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation has reached more than 4 million young people across the country and has awarded more than $110 million in Live Más Scholarships and grants to youth-serving nonprofit organizations focused on education and career readiness.

The artist’s “expertise in understanding social media and youth culture alongside his skills in creating great music makes this partnership with Taco Bell exciting, brave and one of the most innovative campaigns I’ve had the pleasure of creating,” said Jennifer Frommer, senior vp brand partnerships & commercial sync at Columbia Records.

As one of his first initiatives, Lil Nas X will make a cameo in Taco Bell’s breakfast campaign, which kicks off today, as the brand brings its breakfast offerings back to approximately 90% of restaurants nationwide by mid-September.

According to music industry trade magazine Billboard, in June, the rapper revealed his highly anticipated first full-length album would be “coming soon,” though a release date has not been announced.

Lil Nas X x Taco Bell:

From the press release:

As a brand known for its late night Fourth Meal, Taco Bell is celebrating fans who begin craving and planning for their morning meal in the evening to remind them that Taco Bell breakfast awaits come morning.

Breakfast, In Bedtime Stories – Toasted Breakfast Burritos (Commercial) |Taco Bell:

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Music & Concerts

Erasure’s ‘Neon Tour’ coming to The Anthem

Features out lead Andy Bell



Erasure (Photo courtesy of The Anthem)

Erasure will play The Anthem on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The band features lead singer Andy Bell who is openly LGBTQ and HIV positive.

Tickets cost between $69.50 and $89.50. Super Excellent Seats are non-transferable. The ID of the original purchaser must be presented to pick up the tickets, and also, Super Excellent Seats will be made available for will call pick up no earlier than 30 minutes prior to doors. 

For more information, visit The Anthem’s website.

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