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‘Special’ to return to Netflix for second season

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Ryan O’Connell (L) with Punam Patel and Augustus Prew in “Special” (Image courtesy of Netflix)

Fans of the short-form Netflix comedy “Special” have an extra reason to rejoice this holiday season – the Emmy-nominated series has been renewed for a second season.

Starring and written by Ryan O’Connell, the semi-autobiographical series, which lists Jim Parsons alongside O’Connell as an executive producer, has gotten the green light for an additional season of eight episodes, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Based on O’Connell’s memoir, “I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves,” it follows a young gay man living with cerebral palsy as he attempts to live – and date – in Los Angeles, and has been  praised for its depiction of people with disabilities, as well as for its sometimes intimate portrayal of gay life – such as a candid scene in which O’Connell’s character loses his virginity to a sex worker played by Brian Jordan Alvarez (“Will and Grace”).

Speaking to the Advocate on the release of the show’s first season, O’Connell said that part of his intention with the show was to destigmatize sex workers – whom he said “do an incredible service” – and gay sex in general.

“I don’t know why people are still afraid of gay sex,” he told the magazine. “I don’t know why gay sex can’t be shown for what it is, which is, awkward, funny, sexy, embarrassing — sometimes all at the same time, within two minutes.”

The show’s creator and star has previously said that sticking to a 15-minute format has been “frustrating,” but there’s no word yet about whether the show will expand to a longer running time. “Special” received four Emmy nominations in short form categories – O’Connell and co-stars Jessica Hecht and Punam Patel for acting, and the show itself for Best Comedy or Drama Series.

Hecht and Punam will return for the second season, but other details – such as possible extension of episode length or a premier date – have yet to be released.

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Arts & Entertainment

Lady Gaga defends same-sex marriage at D.C. concert

“They better not try to mess with gay marriage in this country!”

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albums, gay news, Washington Blade
Lady Gaga (Photo courtesy of Might Real Agency)

Lady Gaga spoke up for same-sex marriage and abortion rights at her Washington, D.C. stop of her nationwide the ‘Chromatica Ball’ tour

Early in the show at Nationals Park, the Oscar-winning performer dedicated her song “Born This Way,” which she called an equality anthem, to LGBTQ+ community. “This might not be the national anthem, but it’s our national anthem!” Gaga yelled, calling out Republican lawmakers, “They better not try to mess with gay marriage in this country!”

Lady Gaga’s second album Born This Way, released in 2011, marked her significant transition into a burgeoning pop culture icon. The title song “Born This Way” is one of numerous proofs of Gaga’s identity as the LGBTQ+ advocate.

“Born This Way, my song and album, were inspired by Carl Bean, a gay black religious activist who preached, sung, and wrote about being ‘Born This Way.’ Notably, his early work was in 1975, 11 years before I was born,” Gaga explained the background story behind the album. “Thank you for decades of relentless love, bravery, and a reason to sing. So we can all feel joy, because we deserve joy. Because we deserve the right to inspire tolerance, acceptance, and freedom for all.”

Gaga also addressed abortion rights later in her concert. Before performing ‘Edge Of Glory,’ she delivered a powerful speech on women’s rights, “I would like to dedicate this song to every woman in America. To every woman who now has to worry about her body if she gets pregnant. I pray that this country will speak up, that we will stick together, and that we will not stop until it’s right! For every woman.”

“I don’t mean to be a downer, but there’s some shit that’s more important than show business.” Gaga paused and added before continuing the stripped-down version of this song.

Gaga’s next stop will be at East Rutherford, New Jersey. Then she will then head to Chicago and Boston to continue her tour.

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Out & About

Blade, Baltimore Banner explore state of LGBTQ community

‘State of the Community: LGBTQ+ Edition’ at Center Stage

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A fire that destroyed this home in Baltimore is being investigated as a hate crime. This and other community concerns will be addressed at a community event Wednesday in Baltimore. (Photo by Jim Becker)

The Washington Blade and the Baltimore Banner will join forces to host “State of the Community: LGBTQ+ Edition” on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. at Center Stage, The Head Theater, in Baltimore.

The event is a platform for the LGBTQ community to express concerns about recent developments with the Supreme Court, the current political climate, monkeypox, and other issues. 

The event will be hosted by John-John Williams IV, DEI reporter for the Baltimore Banner, and feature Andre K. McDaniels, managing editor of the Baltimore Banner and Kevin Naff, editor-in-chief of the Washington Blade. 

The event is free but registration is required. Beer and refreshments will be on sale. For more details, visit Eventbrite

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Out & About

10 LGBTQ events this week

A Gaga afterparty and a cardboard boat regatta among attractions

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(Washington Blade photos by Vanessa Pham and 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.


Reign

Logan Stone hosts ‘Reign’ on Monday. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Monday, August 8
8-11 p.m.
DIK Bar
1637 17th Street, N.W. (second floor)
Facebook

Join Logan Stone, Dabatha Christie and Hennessey for a fun-filled drag show at Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar tonight at 8.


OMGaga Afterparty

Lady Gaga (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Monday, August 8
10 p.m.
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court, N.W.
Facebook

Did you catch the Gaga concert tonight? Whether you did or not, join the afterparty at Green Lantern. Show your ticket stub from the concert for a free drink on the dance floor.


Drag Bingo with Desiree Dik

Desiree Dik (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Tuesday, August 9
7-9 p.m.
Red Bear Brewing Co.
209 M Street, N.E.
Facebook

Join Desiree Dik for a game of bingo at Red Bear Brewing Co. on Tuesday. Free to play.


Queer Trivia

Wednesday, August 10
7-9 p.m.
Dew Drop Inn
2801 8th Street, N.E.
Facebook

The Mistresses lead a night of Queer Trivia on all things gay at the Dew Drop Inn on Wednesday.


Thirst Trap Thursdays

Join Cake and the queens for Thirst Trap Thursdays. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Thursday, August 11
10 p.m.
Pitchers DC/A League of Her Own
2317 18th Street, N.W.
Facebook

Venus Valhalla and Cake host the Thirsty Thursdays drag show at Pitchers/ALOHO on Aug. 11.


LGBTQ Social at Wild Days

Friday, August 12
7-9 p.m.
Wild Days Rooftop Bar at the Eaton Hotel
1201 K Street, N.W.
21+
Eventbrite

Have some casual conversations with new friends in the LGBTQ community over drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. Hosted by Go Gay DC.


A Love Letter to RENT

Friday, August 12
10 p.m.
JR.’s Bar
1519 17th Street, N.W.
Free admission
Facebook

Watch a drag show dedicated to the hit musical RENT. If you miss the first show on Friday, come by on Saturday at 4 p.m. for an encore performance.


Lights On, Barks Out! Disco Heat Drag Brunch

Saturday, August 13
Seating 11 a.m./show 12 p.m.
Astro Beer Hall
1306 G Street, N.W.
$15 cover
Facebook

Join host Doming0 for the Disco Heat Drag Brunch on Saturday at Astro Beer Hall.


Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta

Lake Anne (Blade file photo by Vanessa Pham)

Saturday, August 13
2 p.m.
Lake Anne Plaza
1609 Washington Plaza
Reston, Va.
Facebook | Website

Watch a cardboard regatta race along Lake Anne in Reston, Va. Or, you could even participate (rules here)!


Mister & Miss AGLA Scholarship Fundraiser

Miss AGLA 2020-21 Ashlee Jozet Adams and Mr. AGLA 2020-21 Xavier Bottoms will be honored at the event alongside the newly-crowned Mr. and Miss AGLA 2022. (Photo via Facebook)

Sunday, August 14
7-9 p.m.
Freddie’s Beach Bar & Grill
555 23rd Street S
Arlington, Va.
$10 donation requested
Facebook

Join a fundraiser for a good cause: a college scholarship for an outstanding Arlington County Public High School senior. Also, the 2022 Mr. and Miss AGLA will be crowned.


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