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Acclaimed trans documentary gets VOD release

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“Man Made” explores the lives of FTM trans bodybuilders (Image courtesy Journeyman Pictures).

A ground-breaking documentary about trans bodybuilders is about to drop worldwide on VOD.

Releasing Thursday, November 7th, 2019 via Journeyman Pictures, the multiple-award-winning “Man Made” follows the extraordinary lives of four transgender men as they prepare to compete at TransFitCon, the only all trans-bodybuilding competition in the world – held in Atlanta, GA. What precedes this triumphant moment are a set of personal and diverse journeys taken on the path to self-identity and empowerment. According to the film’s press release, “’Man Made’” intertwines the nuances of manhood; the drive for social justice; and the competitive desire to forge our own paths and be our personal best.”

The film takes us into the heart of transgender male (FTM) culture, revealing unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity and love. It’s a character-driven, intimate, and riveting verité-style competition film, but also a unique social justice narrative. It speaks to the ways in which we all choose to define and reshape ourselves, both figuratively and literally.

“Man Made” was directed with an intimate and authentic vision by trans-filmmaker T Cooper, who is also an acclaimed novelist, television writer, journalist and LGBT activist.

Cooper says, “I believe that this film is more vital than ever. Even though I am not a bodybuilder, I know what it means to envision and then actually take steps to build the body – and life – that you want. So, in some ways, this is my story. But it is also the story of anybody who has done what it takes to become the person s/he is meant to be.”

Executive producer Téa Leoni says, “’Man Made’ is striking, and simply feels like nothing I’ve seen in storytelling around transgender lives, either documentary or narrative. Simply put: you see this film, and it changes you.”

The documentary world premiered in 2018 at over 75 festivals around the world, winning critical and audience acclaim. Out Magazine called the film “an assured crowd-pleaser, made with great love and insight.” The New Yorker said, “Man Made upends the traditional documentary gaze… [and] resists the urge to turn the bodybuilders’ stories into narratives of simple, complete self-actualization; instead, it offers a testament to individual moments of joy-transformative in themselves.”

Festival awards include Best Documentary Jury Award, Atlanta Film Festival; Best Documentary Audience Award, Outfest Los Angeles and NewFest NYC; and Best Documentary Jury Award at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

You can read the Los Angeles Blade review of “Man Made” here.

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Out & About

10 LGBTQ events this week

Extended Pride season continues with Ho Co and Laurel festivals

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PRIDEtoberfest, Howard County Pride and Laurel Pride all take place this week. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Below are our picks for some of the most fun and creative things to do this week in the DMV that are of special interest to the LGBTQ community.


PRIDEtoberfest

Thrusday, October 6
7-11 p.m.
Wunder Garten
1101 1st Street N.E.
Free
Eventbrite

Dress for Oktoberfest and join in on a night of drinks, dancing and prizes. Event benefits the Capital Pride Alliance.


Yes Homo! Yes Queen! Comedy Show

Thursday, Oct. 6
8 p.m.
DC Comedy Loft and Bier Baron Tavern
1523 22nd Street, N.W.
$12 + two item minimum (food/beverage)
Website

Celebrate the queens and royalty of DC comedy with a debut show featuring female-identifying and non binary comics. The event is hosted by Ursula Fox-Koor, Reem Seliem and Sunny Soroosh and features Lil Vida, Joey Friedman, Violet Gray, Justine Morris, Hedi Sandberg, Davine Kerr, Jasmine Burton and Sandi Benton. Plan to arrive 30 minutes before the show starts to get a good seat. There will be a burlesque intermission.


Sleeze: Sucks

Thursday, Oct. 6
9 p.m.
DC9 Nightclub
1940 9th Street, N.W.
$10
Facebook | Eventbrite

Check out this spooky monthly dance party with performances by Jaxknife and Jane Saw. Listen to the “darker sides of disco with forward-thinking techno” with DJs Sappho, Lemz and KeenanOrr.


Slay Them Drag Competition

Friday, Oct. 7
9 p.m.
Red Bear Brewing Co.
209 M Street, N.E.
Facebook

Desiree Dik is ready to Slay as host of an amateur drag competition. Come watch the new performers and cheer for your favorites!


Freeform Fridays FRiKiTONA

Friday, Oct. 7
doors 11 p.m. / show midnight
Songbyrd Music House
540 Penn Street, N.E.
Facebook

Doming0 hosts an “all Latine Drag Show and Dance Party” at Songbyrd Music House on Friday with performances by Mari Con Carne, Thunderboi Tsai and Mariuh.


Laurel Pride

Saturday, Oct. 8
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Granville Gude Park
8300 Mulberry Street (Pavilion A)
Laurel, Md.
Facebook

Experience entertainment, food and more at the City of Laurel’s inaugural Pride festival.


Dancin’ Thru the Decades (70’s & 80’s)

Saturday, Oct. 8
9 p.m.
As You Are
500 8th Street, S.E.
Website

Dance at a queer dance party to the music of the 70’s and 80’s brought to you by DJ L Stackz.


Ho Co Pride

Sunday, Oct. 9
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Meriweather Park Symphony Woods
10431 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Md.
Facebook | Eventbrite

Keep the Pride party going by celebrating Howard County Pride in Columbia, Md. on Sunday.


Gagsters and Dragsters

Sunday, Oct. 9
1:30 p.m.
D.C. Improv Comedy Club
1140 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
$20
Facebook | Tickets

Drag entertainers and comedians perform at the D.C. Improv Comedy Club on Sunday for a fun-filled drag brunch.


Flashy: Nine Year Anniversary

Sunday, Oct. 9
9 p.m.
Flash
645 Florida Avenue, N.W.
$30
Facebook | Eventbrite

The bar is open until 4 a.m. for this milestone celebration for the big dance party that is Flashy Sundays.


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Movies

‘Bros’ bombs at weekend box office

Billy Eichner blames straight people for failing to show up

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The chemistry between Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner wasn’t enough to steam up the box office this weekend. (Photo courtesy Universal Studios)

The much-hyped new film “Bros,” touted as the first gay romantic comedy produced by a major Hollywood studio, bombed at the weekend box office, bringing in just $4.8 million, about half of the $8-10 million prediction for opening weekend.

The film, which stars Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane, finished in fourth place for the weekend; horror film “Smile” took the top spot with $22 million. Eichner quickly turned to Twitter to blame straight people for the poor showing.

“Even with glowing reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, an A CinemaScore, etc., straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn’t show up for ‘Bros,’” Eichner wrote. “And that’s disappointing but it is what it is.”

Not everyone agrees with Eichner’s assessment. Variety, in a Monday story, cited marketing problems and a lack of star power as likely culprits for the disappointing numbers.

“For the romantic comedy genre, star power is integral these days to getting people out of the house,” Variety’s Zach Sharf and William Earl wrote. “Paramount’s ‘The Lost City’ made it to the $105 million mark in the U.S. off the strength of pairing A-listers Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum.”

Additionally, the film’s marketing focused on the historic nature of the film, rather than its comedic appeal.

“’Bros’ marketing worked overtime to sell its importance as the first major LGBTQ studio comedy, but aggressively marketing a movie as a glass-ceiling breaker can make it feel like homework for viewers,” Sharf and Earl noted.

There have also been anecdotal reports of homophobic incidents at theaters linked to the film’s poster, which features a photo of Eichner and Macfarlane grabbing each other’s butts. 

“The goal was to make the funniest, laugh-out-loud movie as possible, that just happens to be about a gay couple,” Eichner, 44, told the Blade in an interview last week.

The studio released a statement that it remains hopeful positive reviews and word-of-mouth will give “Bros” a long theatrical run. The film cost about $22 million to make.

Eichner served as writer, producer, and co-star of the film, a romantic comedy about two commitment-phobic gay guys in a relationship. All of “Bros” writers, producers, and the lead and supporting actors identify as LGBTQ (with the exceptions of director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow).  

Some observers worry that the poor showing by “Bros” could dissuade large studios from green-lighting LGBTQ-themed projects for mainstream release. 

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Photos

PHOTOS: Miss Gay Maryland 2022

Amethyst Diamond crowned pageant winner

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Amethyst Diamond is crowned Miss Gay Maryland 2022 on Oct. 1 at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Md. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The winners and alternates of Miss Glamour Girl, Miss Gay Freestate and Miss Gay Western Maryland competed for the title of Miss Gay Maryland America 2022 at Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Md. on Saturday, Oct. 1. Special guest performers included Miss Gay Maryland 2021 Maranda Rights and Miss Gay America 2022 Dextaci.

Amethyst Diamond was crowned the winner with Dezi Minaj designated the first alternate. Both queens are eligible to compete in the Miss Gay America pageant in Little Rock, Ark. in January, 2023.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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