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Calendar: May 8-14

LGBTQ events in the week to come

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Straight Up, gay news, gay events DC, Washington Blade
‘Straight Up’ starts screening today as part of the Reel Affirmations ‘on demand’ programming. (Photo courtesy DC Center)

Friday, May 8

“Straight Up” presented by the Reel Affirmations LGBTQ Film Series on Demand is available for viewing today at 10 a.m. Todd, a 20-something whose fear of dying leads him to question his homosexuality, and Rory, a struggling actress with her own insecurities, forge a strange relationship of discovery in this unusual rom-com. Virtual tickets are $12 and grant unlimited access until May 14 at 11 p.m. Visit thedccenter.org for details.

Saturday, May 9

The Pandemic Players present Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” tonight at 7 p.m. via YouTube at youtube.com/channel/UCHlIucoid-7qqXkdNSeLnkQ. The live feed begins one hour before curtain time. Each week’s free performance is to support a local partner theater company through the pandemic. For more information, visit their Facebook event page. 

Sunday, May 10

SAGE,” a short film about Baltimore Ceasefire 365, screens today at noon via Zoom and is accompanied by a Facebook discussion on the Baltimore Ceasefire group page. Tickets are $12 and the cost supports the Baltimore filmmakers and theater program. For more information, visit facebook.com/baltimoreceasefire.

Monday, May 11

The Baltimore City Mayoral Debate hosted by the Baltimore City Chapter of the NAACP is tonight at 7 p.m. online. Moderators will question leading candidates for the June 2 Democratic primary about their plan for Baltimore’s future. Register at eventbrite.com/e/baltimore-city-mayoral-debate-tickets-103857386238 to receive a link to join the live online event. 

Tuesday, May 12

The online edition of May is? All About Trans, a month-long series of events focused on the transgender community, begins today at 5 p.m. with the Trans Latinx Institute. This conversation with the Latinx community is free and available via Zoom. To register for this and other transgender community events, visit mayistransdc.com

Drag Makeup Live hosted by Star Track Adolescent Health Program (12 Penn St., Baltimore) is tonight, and every Tuesday night, at 6 p.m. This online event features local drag and makeup artists spilling tea on their artistry. Star Track staff will be in the comments section of the stream and will direct message resources to participants. Visit the Star Track Health Facebook page for more information. 

A Broadway Dance Class with award-winning choreographer Parker Esse is tonight at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The event is free but donations are encouraged to help support Arena Stage programs at arenastage.org/donate and arenastage.org/paypal. To register and for more information, visit the Facebook event page or email [email protected]

Wednesday, May 13

Before and After Roe v. Wade, an online discussion hosted by Profs and Pints, is tonight at 7 p.m. Sara Matthiesen, a professor of history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at George Washington University leads a discussion of the pending Supreme Court decision on June Medical Services v. Gee, a case that will decide if individuals still have a right to abortion as envisioned by the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. To register for $12 tickets, visit the event’s Facebook page. 

Thursday, May 14

America’s Islamic Heritage Museum (2315 Martin Luther King Jr Ave., S.E.) offers Free Iftar Meals tonight, and every Tuesday and Thursday, at 7 p.m. These free meals for Muslims to break their Ramadan fasts after sunset are available for pick up from 7-8 p.m. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or aihmuseum.org/ramadan-iftars.html.od

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Out & About

Studio House, Visual AIDS partner for educational program

Day With(out) Art 2021 to be held at Lamont Plaza

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One Tent Health, gay news, Washington Blade
World AIDS Day is next week.

Studio House and Visual AIDS will join forces for “Day With(out) Art 2021” on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. at Lamont Plaza. 

This event is a community outdoor screening of “Enduring Care,” a video program that highlights strategies of community care within the ongoing HIV epidemic followed by a discussion about the video.

There will be an open house in the neighborhood at the David Bethuel Jamieson (1963-1992) Studio House and Archives featuring newly commissioned work by Katherine Cheairs, Cristóbal Guerra, Danny Kilbride, Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad and Uriah Bussey, Beto Pérez, Steed Taylor, and J Triangular and the Women’s Video Support Project.

For more information, visit Eventbrite

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Forget Santa Claus – Ginger Minj is comin’ to town

‘Drag Race’ alum’s Winter Wonderland Tour stops in D.C. Nov. 29 and 30

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Ginger Minj will perform her holiday spectacular Winter Wonderland Tour at Miracle Theatre.

Ginger Minj is a busy little elf.

From her new country album “Double Wide Diva” to sporadic stints in TV and movies to her upcoming book, “Southern Fried Sass” (which reportedly scored her a six-figure deal), the “Drag Race” diva is everywhere these days, including a venue near you. On Nov. 29 and 30, the new queen of Christmas will perform her holiday spectacular Winter Wonderland Tour at Miracle Theatre.

We recently caught up with the multitalented actress/comedian/singer to discuss her continued success, including making friends with Jennifer Aniston while filming Netflix’s “Dumplin,’” her take on the latest Dave Chappelle backlash, the best Christmas gift she’s ever received, and what exactly makes her the “nicest bitch” this side of the North Pole – but first, let’s take a sleigh ride back to the beginning.

BLADE: Tell me a bit about how you got started in drag and the genesis of Ginger Minj. 

GINGER MINJ: Like most good show-tune-loving queers, I stumbled into drag through musical theater. I auditioned for a show that required either full-frontal nudity or drag, and I figured I would fare better in a wig and heels than nothing at all. I got the role and really took to it quickly. I felt more free and honest as a performer than I ever had before, and I realized I could make a livable income doing something that I was wholly responsible for creating. 

BLADE: How has your appearance on “Drag Race” helped your career, and what are your top takeaways from your time on the show?

GM: It’s an international platform that allows us to introduce ourselves to the entire world. It got me a seat at the table with people and places that refused to even open the door for me in the past. I think there was – and maybe still is sometimes – this initial assumption that drag artists are limited in their talents, but we have been able to show the world that we are just as talented and capable as any other entertainer. I don’t wear a wig as a gimmick. I wear it as an accessory, and it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be taken as seriously as any other actor, singer, etc. “Drag Race” is doing a great job of showing the world that – and I’ll forever be grateful.

BLADE: If folks didn’t catch you on “Drag Race,” they might recognize you from the 2018 Netflix movie “Dumplin’” starring Jennifer Aniston and Dove Cameron. What was your experience like on set, and do you have any other TV/film projects in the works?

GM: “Dumplin’” was the single best experience of my life! Jennifer Aniston brought me coffee every morning, and Kathy Najimy had my trailer moved next to hers so we could listen to Beyoncé and play with makeup. That entire cast and crew treated all of us queens with unbelievable respect. It really gave me a passion for filmmaking and, yes, I’m happy to say there are a few more projects – big screen and small – coming your way soon.

BLADE: What makes you the “nicest bitch you’ll ever meet?”

GM: It’s like those good ole’ southern church ladies who will give you the shirts off their backs but read you to filth for not bringing one of your own. The only thing bigger than my mouth is my heart and the “shady” things I say should never be taken seriously. 

BLADE: As a comedian yourself, what are your thoughts on the latest Dave Chappelle/Netflix controversy?

GM: I’ve always felt like comedy and drag go hand in hand: It’s an outrageous way to start a conversation and make people confront their own feelings about anything and everything. That being said, I think there’s a way to do that without disparaging and discrediting an entire group of human beings. I think it’s shameful that someone with that great of a platform would choose to punch down. 

BLADE: Your new single “Walk Tall” is about growing up gay in the South – and it’s a very good song. Radio worthy even, but a hard sell, given its content, to a country-music audience. How do you think that changes? Will LGBTQ+ country artists ever enjoy the kind of success their straight counterparts do?

GM: I think so. To be completely honest with you, I’ve gotten much more support for that album from the country community than I have from the drag world. The message is so universal, and we were very careful to do it in an authentic, simple way. When we stop focusing on our differences and start embracing our similarities, the world can change. I just do the things that make me happy and hope it finds the people who need to hear it. 

BLADE: Christmas is just around the corner – do you prefer giving or receiving? What’s your most prized Christmas present from the past?

GM: I’m definitely a giver! I drive myself crazy for months researching and planning and looking for the perfect gifts for everyone. It’s my way of showing the people I care most about that while I may be busy, I’m listening. I hear them, I see them, and I appreciate them. The best Christmas present I ever got was a cheap plastic pair of ruby slippers from my mama when I was a kid. I still have them. That moment changed my life forever. It’s what actually inspired “Walk Tall.”

BLADE: Like Santa Claus himself, the Ginger Minj Winter Wonderland Tour 2021 is coming to town. What do you have in store for audiences this holiday season?

GM: What don’t we have in store?! There are 20 costume changes, instructional videos gone terribly wrong, singing, dancing, magic tricks, fog machines, comedy, and it even snows over the audience! This is the biggest, prettiest, most ambitious show we have ever put together.

BLADE: Looking forward to 2022, what’s in the works? What are a few of your New Year’s resolutions?

GM: So many great things — more music, some movies, some TV, a stage production of “La Cage aux Folles” in Chicago, and my book “Southern Fried Sass” will hit the shelves. It’s a great time to be the “Glamour Toad,” and I am grateful every single day. 

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels.

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Children’s Beach House to host holiday fundraiser

Music by artists Pamala Stanley and 2nd Time Around

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Pamala Stanley performs at a fundraiser for the Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Del., on Dec. 3. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Del., will begin its weekend-long fundraiser with an annual holiday party on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will include a live auction, cocktails, dinner by Touch of Italy and music by artists Pamala Stanly and 2nd Time Around. This fundraiser will help support CBH’s work with children and families. Tickets are $150.

The celebrations will continue with a “Santa’s Workshop” event on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. This event will include cookie decorating and making holiday crafts, among other events. There will also be a cash bar available with bloody mary’s and mimosas for those 21 years and older. Tickets cost $30.

CBH will end the weekend with “Happy Hour With the Boy Band Project” on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. This event will be a musical performance by an electric boy band cover group, which was named “Best Group” by the 2019 Broadway World Awards that re-imagines the sound, movement, and energy of NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, One Direction, and more. Tickets are $150. Visit cbhinc.org for more information.

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