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Gift Guide 2019 part 3: hot this year

Vice Wines, Budsies Selfie among hot items

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gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade

Editor’s note: This is part three of four Blade holiday gift guides. Last week’s installment (home gifts) is here if you missed it. Look for“last minute” in next week’s edition. (Dec. 13).

Category is: hot this year! Gifts galore for him, her, they and them — because secular Santa doesn’t discriminate like hypocrite “Christians” do.

Less is Bore! 

Life’s too short! Why settle for traditional ornaments? Celebrity collection: from the queen, politicians to fashion icons. From $19.95. Available at nakeddecor.com or at Naked Decor Pop Up store at Downtown Holiday Market in Washington. 

The Vice Wines

If any of your vices include a 2017 Mount Veeder Merlot, 2017 Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon, or 2018 Carneros Pinot Noir, stock up and save with these aptly named vinos handcrafted to make you feel naughty and nice. $28-695, thevicewine.com.

Budsies Selfie and Petsies Dolls

Lookalike dolls made to order from submitted photographs of your human and pet pals are stuffed with so much holiday cheer that this thoughtful treasure will be cherished for years to come. Ideal for drag queens that have everything but this. $99, budsies.com; $59-199, mypetsies.com.

Sprints Running Hat

The super-light, moisture-wicking Tropical Jaguars hat (unisex) protects athletes and outdoor enthusiasts from noggin burn and wet eyes whenever they feel like running wild. $29, getsprints.com.

Bluprint Subscription

Kick-start your secret Santa’s side hustle with Bluprint — NBCUniversal’s digital subscription service that offers classes, projects and supplies across 20-plus crafting hobbies, like quilting, knitting, embroidery and crochet, that can easily transform a creative procrastinator into a weekend money maker. $8-200, mybluprint.com.

OurShelves Children’s Book Box

Guncles and lesbi-aunts will be bedtime-story superstars when they deliver this quarterly subscription box filled with racially and ethically diverse children’s books featuring LGBTQ, feminist and other traditionally under-represented characters and families. $20-70, ourshelves.com.

Kimball Quero Boots

Step up your partner’s foot-fashion game with these ruggedly constructed wingtip boots featuring mixed leather and rubber for a no-slip stride that are as dapper as they are “damn, boy – you lookin’ fiiine!” $245-255, querohms.com.

Dessert Gallery Party in a Box

A successful holiday potluck requires two staples: free-flowing booze and plenty of sweet treats. You’ll find the latter in this Party in a Box available in Southern Pecan Pie, Tres Leches, To-Die-For Fudge Pecan Pie or a customizable tasting box. $40-89, dessertgallery.com.

Cat Ball Bed

Cats lick their plates clean when there’s fish on the menu, but roles are reversed when cute kitties become shark bait in this killer-cozy bed that’s totally fin-tastic. $85, thecatball.com.

Kombucha Making Kit

Whether you guzzle it or gag on it, kombucha has proven it has staying power and now the most health-conscious homos in your squad can whip up a fresh batch of their favorite fermented fizz without forking over a bundle per bottle. $45, farmsteady.com.

Rory Rockmore Pronoun Necklace

Using proper pronouns in the LGBTQ world can be confusing — you’ll stand corrected if you accidentally misgender — but these 14K gold or white gold nameplate necklaces (also available in HE/him and SHE/her) remove all the guesswork so you can save face. $240, roryrockmore.com.

The 5 O’Clock Box & Tom of Finland Vodka

In these three-step kits — available in sparkling rosé, spiced Old Fashioned, smoky margarita, and Moscow mule — all 5-o’clock-somewhere-ers have to do is add alcohol (like Tom of Finland vodka), shake or stir, and garnish to get tipsier than a freshly cut Tannenbaum. $30, twistyourspirits.com; $35, tomoffinlandvodka.com.

Quartz Collective Healing Crystals

You don’t have to believe in magic to reap the benefits of this collection of curated stones and crystals (which is backed by scientific research, btw) that can help facilitate healing, luck, confidence and calm and soothe negative nervous energy like anxiety. Rub ’em hard enough and you might even conjure up a top who can host. $29, quartzcollective.com.

Succulentsbox.com

The best gift for friends in tiny apartments is even tinier plants that don’t require a ton of care. Live-and-let-live succulents and minis are the perfect present — because who the hell wants to attend another ficus funeral? $5-228, succulentsbox.com.

STOCKING STUFFERS

Mokuyobi Wallets

This color-blocked, couldn’t-be-queerer-if-it-tried collection of clothing and accessories pop so hard Crayola is blue-green with envy. Wallets so bright they’ll make a bish swish harder. $12-156, mokuyobi.com.

CBD Under $20

Pop a literal chill pill when your in-laws start their shit at Christmas supper with CBD hemp capsules or gummies clocking in at under $20 for more than a week’s worth of you-don’t-give-a-fuckness. $7-20, cbdfx.com.

Axol & Friends

These cute plush critters with a purpose have companion storybooks. Axol is gender neutral, using only the pronoun “they/them” in the books, which teach children about rare endangered species and advocate for sustainable, ethical production and consumerism while donating a portion of proceeds to youth empowerment programs around the world. $19, axolandfriends.com.

Socks That Save LGBTQ Lives

Take a cue from today’s black-sock-showing youth and don this out-and-proud rainbow-stripe pair, the proceeds from each will benefit The Trevor Project to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. $17, fairtradewinds.net.

HipDot Pressed Glitter Palette

Hey Sis!, Big Boss Miss Ross and Royal Riot are just a few of the names in HipDot’s 15-shade pressed glitter palette designed for all genders to beat their faces like Ziggy Stardust. Proceeds will be donated to the Anti-Violence Project. $30, hipdot.com.

Tighty Whities Ornament

Baby, it’s really cold outside with these festive, glass-assed skivvies that add some bulge to your bulbs. $18, alwaysfits.com.

felixSEBASTIAN Earrings

Burl Ives sang the praises of silver and gold in 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but you can accessorize all the same with the very-now Nascence Collection Studs available in three shapes and metal tones. $50, iamfelixsebastian.com.

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He spends his time writing from the beach with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Baltimore Pride in the Park

Annual celebration featured vendors, performers

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(Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

Baltimore Pride in the Park was held at Druid Hill Park on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)

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Photos

PHOTOS: “Portraits”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs at the Kennedy Center

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A scene from "Portraits," as performed in a technical rehearsal at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, June 15. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed “Portraits” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Sophie Zmorrod embracing life on the road in ‘Kite Runner’

First national tour comes to Eisenhower Theater on June 25

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Sophie Zmorrod (Photo courtesy of Zmorrod)

‘The Kite Runner’
June 25 – 30
The Kennedy Center
$39-$149
Kennedy-center.org

Newly single, Sophie Zmorrod is enjoying life on the road in the first national tour of “The Kite Runner,” Matthew Spangler’s play with music based on Khaled Hosseini’s gripping novel about damaged relationships and longed for redemption. 

“It’s a wonderful time for me,” says Zmorrod. “I’m past the breakup pain and feeling empowered to explore new cities. A lot of us in the cast are queer, so we figure out the scene wherever the show goes.” 

What’s more, the New York-based actor has fallen in love with the work. “I love how the play’s central character Amir is flawed. He is our antihero. He has faults. As a privileged boy in Kabul, he bears witness to his best friend’s assault and doesn’t intervene. He lives with that guilt for decades and gets that redemption in the end.” 

“He does what he can to right wrongs. For me who’s regretted things, and wished I could go back in time, it resonates. Watching someone forgive themselves and do the right thing is beautiful.” 

Via phone from Chicago (the tour’s stop before moving on to Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on June 25), Zmorrod, whose background is Lebanese, happily chats about sexuality, ethnicity, and acting. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Looking at your resume, I see you’ve been cast in roles traditionally played by men. And have you played queer characters? 

SOPHIE ZMORROD: Oh yes, both. Whether or not they’re written on the page as queer, they sometimes turn out that way. And that holds true for this show too.  

With “The Winter’s Tale” at Trinity Rep, I played Leontes — the king who banishes his wife — as a woman. So, in that production it was about two women and touched on the violence that women sometimes inflict on other women.

And there was Beadle Bamford in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” also at Trinity Rep; I played him as a woman who was masculine and wore a suit. It was a great opportunity to explore myself and gender expression. That was a really good experience. 

BLADE: Are you an actor who’s often be called in for queer roles? 

ZMORRAD: Not really. I’m what you might call straight passing. Sometimes I’ve had to advocate for my queerness. To be a part of something. 

Similarly with my ethnicity. I’m called in to audition for the white and Arab roles. It gets tricky because I’m not the exactly the white girl next door and I’m not exactly Jasmine from Disney’s “Aladdin” either. 

This is one of the reasons, I really want people to come see “The Kite Runner,” Audiences need to experience the reality of the wide diversity of Middle Eastern people on the stage. We’re all very different.

And not incidentally, from this 14-person cast, I’ve met some great people to add to those I know from the Middle Eastern affinity spaces and groups I’m connected to in New York.

BLADE: In “The Kite Runner” what parts do you play?

 ZMORRAD: Three characters. All women, I think. In the first act, I’m an elderly eccentric pomegranate seller in the Afghan market, waddling around, speaking in Dari [the lingua franca of Afghanistan]; and the second act, I’m young hip and sell records in a San Francisco market; and at the end, I’m a buttoned-down American immigration bureaucrat advising Amir about adoption.

BLADE:  Your training is impressive: BA cum laude in music from Columbia University, an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, and you’re also accomplished in opera and playwrighting, to name a few things. Does “The Kite Runner” allow you to flex your many muscles? 

ZMORROD: Very much. Playing multiple roles is always fun for an actor – we like malleability. Also, there are instruments on stage. I like working with the singing bowl; it’s usually used in yoga as a soothing sound, but here we save it for the dramatic, uncomfortable moments. I also sing from offstage. 

We are creating the world of the play on a very minimal set. Oh, and we do kite flying, and I’m able to use the some of the languages I speak. So yeah, lots of challenges. It’s great. 

BLADE: It sounds like you’re in a good place both professionally and personally.

ZMORROD: It’s taken a long time to feel comfortable. My being gay was never something I led with. But I’m on the journey and excited to be where I am, and who I am. 

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