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Most summer camps still on — for now

Region offers wide space of LGBT-affirming camps for kids of all interests



summer camps, gay news, Washington Blade
Children perform ‘Star Force’ at last year’s summer Synetic Classic. (Photo courtesy Synetic Theatre)

Coronavirus concerns have closed or postponed many youth spring break programs currently underway, particularly in Maryland. However, registration continues for summer activities. Continue to monitor program websites for COVID-19 adjustments and updates. 

Brave Trails Camp is an LGBTQ youth-focused experience with sessions one-three held in California beginning June 20 and session four in the Catoctin Mountains of western Maryland from Aug. 11-20. The $1,500 tuition includes all meals and snacks, program materials, leadership training classes, lodging, health center access, a camp T-shirt and more. Financial assistance is available. 

Virtual Camp BT is planned for two weeks on the camp’s Instagram page. Find it at #virtualcampbt. Scavengr hunts, live classes, conversations, photo challenges and more will be available for all ages. Look at @bravetrails on Instagram for details. 

Continue to monitor or call 323-300-4401 for updates and details. 

Adventure Theatre is a musical theater academy for D.C.-area youth with an integrated and nationally renowned professional family friendly theatre. Academy camps provide youth with theater experiences by working with teaching artists to learn new skills, rehearse material and perform for family and friends. Youth programming includes summer musical theatre camp for grades one-six at its Glen Echo Park location (7300 Macarthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Md.) and summer musical theater training program for grades six-12 at its Wintergreen Plaza location (837 Rockville Pk., Rockville, Md.). 

Costs start at $800 for the musical theater camp session one, which begins June 16. The musical theater training program starts June 22. Tuition is $1,350 and includes a one-day trip to New York City for training and to see a Broadway show. Scholarship applications and audition information is available at

Current programming, including the Virtual Spring Gala, is postponed due to Maryland’s statewide COVID-19 precautions. Continue to monitor the website for updates regarding summer programming. 

Camp Rim Rock for Girls (343 Camp Rim Rock Rd., Yellow Spring, W.Va.) is a summer camp program for girls going to grades two-10. Two-week or four-week sessions feature horseback riding, performing arts, aquatics, arts and crafts, and sports activities. 

Mini Camp sessions for rising grades one-three is $1,600 and starts June 21; riding camp sessions for rising grades four-10 are $2,000 and also begin June 21; while general camp sessions for rising grades two-10 are $3,050 for two weeks, $5,600 for four weeks and start June 28. 

Coronavirus information is not currently posted to its website, but continue to monitor or contact them at 347-746-7625 or [email protected] for updates. 

Circle Yoga (3838 Northampton St., N.W.) offers both a Teaching Yoga to Kids class April 24-26 for $595 as a way for parents to share yoga practice with their families and a Circle Yoga Kids summer camp starting June 22 for ages 6-12 at $420 per week and starting July 6 for ages 4-7 at $315 per week. 

Campers learn yoga, mindfulness and other stress-reducing activities in an environment free from competition, pressure and strict scheduling. Partial scholarship applications are available at

Circle Yoga classes and workshops are currently cancelled through April 3 due to COVID-19 concerns; however, online classes are available using Zoom video conferencing.

Green Acres Camp (11701 Danville Dr., North Bethesda, Md.) offers age-grouped programming for pre-Kindergarten to grade seven with fees ranging from $349 per week to $3,125 for a seven-week session starting June 22. Camp programs include Kreative Kangaroos for pre-K, Junior Camp for Kindergarten to grade two and Senior Camp for grades three-seven. 

No COVID-19 restrictions or cancellations are currently posted to its website; however, continue to monitor or call 301-881-4100 for updates and more information. 

The Lowell School (1640 Kalmia Rd., N.W.) offers a variety of summer camp activities for children ages 2-15. This year the school’s new offerings include an early bird mini camp open for age 2 to rising fifth graders, Camp Rock for aspiring musicians in grades four-six, and a summer stage production of “The Wiz” from June 22-July 17. 

Costs range from $455 for the one week Early Bird Mini Camp which starts June 15 to $1,335-$1,775 for summer stage and various specialty camps starting June 22. There currently is no COVID-19 information posted; however, contact the school at 202-577-2000 or at [email protected] or visit its website at for updates. 

Silver Stars Gymnastics offers a youth gymnastics camp at their Silver Spring (2701 Pittman Dr., Silver Spring, Md.) and Bowie (14201 Woodcliff Ct., Bowie, Md.) locations. The Bowie location also offers a laser tag camp. 

According to their website, due to coronavirus concerns, starting March 16, all activities are suspended. Email [email protected] or call 301-352-5777 for updates or more information as the situation develops. 

Synetic Theater specializes in adaptation and ensemble work and offers two youth camp programs this summer. Synetic Classic is a traditional two-week program for “Young Artists” in grades K-five and “Thespians” in grades six-nine. Classes for this program start June 22 and cost $725. Synetic Remix is a new one-week program for both age groups and costs $375. 

This year Synetic will feature three different show opportunities depending on the session, “A Tale of Two Ghostbusters,” “The Wild and Wacky Wizarding World of Wiley Skylar” and “Star Force.”

A program representative emailed the Washington Blade that summer programming is currently continuing as planned and registrations are still being accepted. However, call 703-824-8060 or email [email protected] for updates and information and continue to monitor its website at

Last year’s Adventure Theatre MTC Summer Musical Theatre Camp. (Photo courtesy Adventure)

Celebrity News

Lizzo makes $50K donation to Marsha P. Johnson Institute

Singer is vocal LGBTQ ally



Lizzo at the 65th Grammy Awards (Screenshot from the Grammy Awards)

When Lizzo sings “If I’m shinin,’ everybody gonna shine,” in her hit song, “Juice,” she means it. Proof of that came this week on Instagram when the LGBTQ ally announced the first winner of her annual Juneteenth Giveback Campaign is the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a national nonprofit based in Richmond, Calif., dedicated to the protection and defense of Black transgender people. 

And she did so in song: “On the first day of Juneteenth, Lizzo gave to me,” she sang in her video, posted Tuesday, as she revealed her $50,000 gift to MPJI.

“That’s right, we know who Marsha P. Johnson is. We know what Marsha P. Johnson has done for the LGBTQ, emphasis on that ‘T,’ Q community,” said Lizzo to her 13.5 million followers. “Thank you so much to the people at the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. You deserve this, and I hope this helps you so much as you help protect our Black trans family.” 

“What the Marsha P. Johnson Institute does is protects and defends the rights of Black transgender people. They do this by organizing community, advocating for the people, and creating an intentional healing community, developing transformative leadership and promoting collective power,” she said. 

“We are overjoyed for the shoutout from Lizzo today, the generosity of her sharing her platform and the recognition of MPJI and its work,” said Elle Moxley, MPJI’s executive director. “The resources from this campaign will ensure the protection and defense of Black transgender people continue at a time where it is so vitally needed. We are so grateful for the support of Lizzo and her fans.”

As one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year for 2019 and a 2023 Grammy winner, Lizzo is more than a pop star but an inspiration to millions of fans for her body-positive attitude, her self-confidence on stage and in her videos, her empowering music and her activism. She’s also the founder of her own clothing line, Yitty. In 2021, she made headlines when she publicly corrected a paparazzo for using “she/her” pronouns and misgendering Demi Levato.

As part of her campaign, now in its 4th year, Lizzo recognizes Black-led grassroots organizations and businesses and encourages her fans to join her in supporting each of the five organizations she highlights this week. Fans who take action by donating are  entered into a drawing for an all-expenses paid trip to see her perform at Fuji Rock in Japan later this year. 

This week’s other nonprofits receiving gifts are: Black Girls Smile, Sphinx Music, the University of Houston and Save Our Sisters United.

Find out more about Lizzo’s 4th annual Juneteenth Giveback Campaign by clicking here.

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Celebrity News

Anne Heche dies after removal from life support

Actress dated Ellen DeGeneres in late 1990s



(Screenshot/YouTube Inside Edition)

Actress Anne Heche died after she was removed from life support on Sunday, nearly two weeks after her Mini-Cooper crashed through a two-story house in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood. Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department believe she was intoxicated at the time.

She sustained a severe anoxic brain injury along with severe burns and was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, near Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

The 53-year-old actress who was a star of films like “Donnie Brasco,” the political satire “Wag the Dog” and the 1998 remake of “Psycho,” had been declared legally dead under California law on Friday, however, her family kept her alive long enough to be an organ donor.

In a statement Friday, the LAPD announced that: “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case. Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case. When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.” LAPD detectives had previously made public that investigators into the crash found narcotics in a blood sample taken from Heche.

The actress’s family released a statement on Friday:

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact,” the statement added.

Heche was married to camera operator Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009. The two had a son, Homer, together. She had another son, named Atlas, during a relationship with actor James Tupper, her co-star on the TV series “Men In Trees.”

Laffoon left a moving tribute on an Instagram reel in which he also gave an update on how their 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon is coping with the loss of his mother.

“I loved her and I miss her, and I’m always going to,” he said adding: “Homer is okay. He’s grieving, of course, and it’s rough. It’s really rough, as probably anybody can imagine. But he’s surrounded by family and he’s strong, and he’s gonna be okay.”

“Rest In Peace, Mom, I love you, Homer,” the actor’s 20-year-old son, Homer, said in a statement after Heche was declared legally dead on Friday.“ My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” read the statement. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully, my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”

Tupper, a Canadian actor who starred alongside Heche in “Men in Trees,” had a 13-year-old son, Atlas, with her. “Love you forever,” Tupper, 57, wrote on his Instagram post’s caption with a broken heart emoji, which shared an image of the actress from Men in Trees.

Between 1997 and 2000, Heche was also in a relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres posted on Twitter. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.” The year after her break-up with the comedian, in September 2001, Heche recounted in her memoir “Call Me Crazy,” about her lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse.

KTLA’s entertainment reporter Sam Rubin noted that over the past two decades, Heche’s career pivoted several times. In 2017, she hosted a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Jason Ellis called “Love and Heche.”

In 2020, Heche made her way into the podcast world. She launched “Better Together” which she cohosted alongside Heather Duffy Boylston. The show was described as a way to celebrate friendship. 

She also worked in smaller films, on Broadway, and on TV shows. She recently had recurring roles on the network series “Chicago P.D.,” and “All Rise” and was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

People magazine reported that several of Heche’s acting projects are expected to be released posthumously.

These include “Girl in Room 13,” expected to be released on Lifetime in September, “What Remains,” scheduled to be released in 2023, and HBO Max TV series “The Idol,” created by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.

In her Instagram post from earlier this year Heche stands between her sons Atlas, 13 and Homer, 20.

From KTLA:

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Celebrity News

‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

George Takei tweets ‘we lived long and prospered together’



(Screenshot/YouTube The Smithsonian Channel)

She was a groundbreaking cultural icon who broke barriers in a time of societal upheaval and battling for the civil rights of Black Americans. An actress, a mother and thoroughly devoted to the legions of fans of “Star Trek,” Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at 89.

The announcement on her Facebook page by her son read:

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.

Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper,

Kyle Johnson

Nichols was born in Robbins, Ill., in 1932, according to her IMDb page. Legendary composer Duke Ellington “discovered” Nichols and helped her become a singer and dancer. She later turned to acting, and joined Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek,” where she played Uhura from 1966 to 1969.

Out actor George Takei who played ‘Sulu’ on Star Trek the original series with Nichelle Nichols who played Lt. Nyota Uhura, at a Star Trek convention in this undated photo. (George Takei/Twitter)

It was in that role of Uhura that Nichols not only broke barriers between races, most famously her onscreen kiss, the first between a Black person and a white person, with castmate William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk, but she also became a role model for young Black women and men inspiring them to seek out their own places in science, technology, and other human endeavors.

In numerous interviews over the years Nichols often recalled how the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a fan of the show and praised her role and personally encouraged her to stay with the series.

When the first series ended Nichols went on to become a spokesperson for NASA, where she “helped recruit and inspire a new generation of fearless astronauts.” She later reprised her role in several successful “Star Trek” films and continued to advocate for the advancement of Black Americans especially in the areas of science and technology.

Formerly a NASA deputy administrator, Frederick Gregory, now 81, told the Associated Press he once saw an advertisement in which Nichols said “I want you to apply for the NASA program.”

“She was talking to me,” he recounted. The U.S. Air Force pilot would apply and later become the first African American shuttle pilot.

President Joe Biden weighed in Sunday afternoon on her passing in a statement issued by the White House:

In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.
A daughter of a working-class family from Illinois, she first honed her craft as an actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country and the world performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and giving life to the words of James Baldwin.
During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.
Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society.

Nichols son said that services will be private for family members and her closest friends.

In 2008 the actress at a news conference, coordinated by the filmmakers of the motion picture “TRU LOVED,” in honor of the more than 900 students at Los Angeles’ Miguel Contreras Learning Complex’s School of Social Justice who participated in the GLSEN Day of Silence.

Nichelle Nichols speaks on LGBTQ rights:

Her fellow castmate and life long friend, openly Out actor George Takei shared his sadness on hearing of Nichols’ passing on Twitter:

From the September 2016 edition of the Smithsonian Channel: “Star Trek’s decision to cast Nichelle Nichols, an African American woman, as major character on the show was an almost unheard-of move in 1966. But for black women all over the country, it redefined the notions of what was possible.”

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols on Uhura’s Radical Impact:

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