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Mika to perform at GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, Fortune Feimster to host

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Mika (Photo credit: Julian Broad)

GLAAD has announced the addition of more talent to the roster of guests at their 31st Annual Media Awards in Los Angeles.

The world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization announced on Thursday that recording artist and singer-songwriter Mika will perform at the ceremony, set to take place April 16; in addition, stand-up, comedian, writer, and actress Fortune Feimsterwill host the Awards.

The organization also announced that special guests rapper Lil Nas X, actress, producer, and director Olivia Wilde (“Booksmart,” “House”), singer-songwriter and actress Hailee Steinfeld (“Dickinson,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” “Pitch Perfect”), showrunner, writer, director, producer and actor Dan Levy and co-stars of “Schitt’s Creek,” radio personality Elvis Duran(“Elvis Duran and the Morning Show”), writer, actor, director, and comedian Ryan O’Connell (“Special”), actress and artist Amandla Stenberg (“The Eddy,” “The Hate U Give”), and drag superstars D.J. “Shangela” Pierce, Bob The Drag Queen, and Eureka O’Hara (HBO’s “We’re Here”)will be in attendance at the event.

As previously announced, Taylor Swiftwill receive the Vanguard Award and award-winning director, producer, writer, and advocate Janet Mockwill receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the presentation, slated for the Beverly Hilton in LA.

Mika is an out gay recording artist and singer-songwriter who rose to fame with the release of his hit single, “Grace Kelly,” which was featured on his 2007 debut album, “Life In Cartoon Motion” – a number one hit in the UK and 11 other countries that sold over seven million copies worldwide. Since then, he’s released three other platinum-selling albums, including “The Boy Who Knew Too Much,” “The Origin of Love,” and “No Place In Heaven.” He’s won a Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act, and has been nominated for Grammys, MTV Europe Music Awards, Capital Radio Awards and World Music Awards. His 2019 album “My Name Is Michael Holbrook” earned him a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Music Artist this year. 

Feimster, who is also out, is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor who first made a name for herself on “Chelsea Lately” before going on to co-star in Hulu’s “The Mindy Project” and NBC’s “Champions.” She’s also made guest appearances on shows including including “Tales of the City,” “Dear White People,” “Claws,” “Office Christmas Party,” and “Life In Pieces.” Her first one-hour stand-up special, “Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty,” premiered on Netflix earlier this year.

In addition to the ceremony in Los Angeles, GLAAD will also hold a presentation in New York on March 19.
For more information, visit the GLAAD website.

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Out & About

Rayceen Pendarvis hosts District of Pride Showcase

Mayor’s Office celebrates resilience of D.C.’s LGBTQ community with night of entertainment

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Rayceen Pendarvis hosts District of Pride Showcase on June 30. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Mayor’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs will host “The District of Pride Showcase” on Thursday, June 30 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Theatre.

This event is to celebrate the resilience of D.C.’s LGBTQ community with a night of entertainment and performances that will feature the diverse queer talent.

This event will be hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis, with announcer Krylios, featuring DJ Honey. There will also be a performance by “Real Housewives of Potomac” star Candiace. 

This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite

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Out & About

Mayor’s office to celebrate older LGBTQ individuals

District of Pride: Seniors Brunch on Monday

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The Mayor’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs will host “District of Pride: Seniors Brunch” on Monday, June 27 at 11 a.m. at Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Arts. 

This event is a celebration of Pride and a “thank you” to the District’s senior community members for their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.

This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite

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Theater

Be prepared to clap for ‘Nollywood Dreams’ at Round House

Theatergoers asked to play audience of Nigerian chat show

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Joel Ashur (Wale Owusu) and Jacqueline Youm (Adenikeh) in ‘Nollywood Dreams’ at Round House Theatre. (Photo by Margot Schulman Photography)

‘Nollywood Dreams’
Through July 3
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
$55-$78
Roundhousetheatre.org

If you see “Nollywood Dreams” at Round House Theatre, be prepared to clap a lot, whether you like it or not.  For almost a third of Jocelyn Bioh’s 100-minute-long comedy, theatergoers are asked to play the audience of an Oprahesque Nigerian chat show with a big personality host and large projected words (cheer, applause) prompting the house to make lots of noise. It’s tough not to comply. 

Set in ‘90s Nigeria, it’s all about Nollywood, the nickname for the Lagos-based film industry that ranks above Hollywood and second only to India’s Bollywood in the number of films produced annually. 

Decked out in fabulous traditional attire, the spirited finger-snapping TV host Adenikeh (Jacqueline Youm) leads with niceties before going in for the kill. Her big-name guests prove central to the story:  director Gbenga Ezie (Yao Dogbe) recently returned home from America and looking to make a Nollywood hit; gorgeous veteran star Fayola (Yetunde Felix-Ukwu), who’s counting on a comeback to revive a slipping career; and Wale Owusu, Nigeria’s “Sexiest Man Born,” played by the faultlessly cast Joel Ashur. 

Glued to the TV in the office of the family travel business, sisters Dede and Ayamma Okafor (played by Renea S. Brown and Ernaisja Curry, respectively) faithfully watch Adenikeh’s eponymous program, breathlessly taking in every Nollywood scoop and subsequent development. While elder sister Dede is content to swoon over male pulchritude, Ayamma has aspirations to be more than a fan, she wants to act. When director Gbenga holds an open casting call to find a fresh face for his new love triangle romance, “The Comfort Zone,” she grasps at the chance. 

A broad comedy broadly acted by an appealing cast, Bioh’s storyline is predictable, a Cinderella story without surprise. It’s a loud world seemingly inhabited by stock characters – the heartthrob, a shady film auteur, an aging film actress, squabbling sisters – but despite all, they aren’t without nuance. The characters prove dimensional and worthy of some investment.  

Also, along with the over-the-top comedy, Bioh’s work refreshingly shows an Africa that isn’t always presented on stage. People’s dreams, desires, and relationships are set against a bustling urban sprawl culturally glued together by the cult of celebrity.

The action plays out on Jonathan Dahm Robertson’s terrific revolving (sometimes dizzyingly so) set made up of three locales — the travel office, daytime TV set, and Gbenga’s well-appointed Nollywood Dreams Studio (with the outsized signage to prove it). It’s an energizing and memorable design. 

Brandee Mathies’s costumes are almost a show in themselves. Exuberantly colorful, they cleverly bring together traditional garb and western silhouettes with joyful flourishes of Nigerian flare. The showbiz folks are costumed, well, showier. It’s short skirts and glittery stilettos for fan favorite Fayola, long touted for her Tina Turner legs.

A Ghanian-American writer, playwright and actor, Bioh grew up on Nollywood flicks. In fact, “Beyonce: The President’s Daughter” (2006), one of her favorites, was an inspiration for “Nollywood Dreams.” Her debut work “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play,” an entertaining tale of teenage trials and tribulations set at a boarding school in provincial ‘80s Ghana was a great success for Round House in 2019.

And at the helm of Round House’s current offering is Theater Alliance’s producing artistic director Raymond O. Caldwell. As gay, Black, and Asian, Caldwell sometimes refers to himself as third culture. In this instance, the Helen Hayes-winning director has heartily plunged into Bioh’s vision and with relish and created a piece rife with fun and feeling.

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