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Ring out Pride Month with a virtual bang, from ‘Pose,’ Revry, and more

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Tel Aviv Pride, 2019 (Image courtesy of Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, Guy Yechiel)

Let’s face it: Pride Month without the ability to celebrate in our traditional ways doesn’t feel very much like Pride.

For many of us, the festivals, concerts, parades and parties, where we gather with our friends to proudly proclaim our queerness to the world, are an annual rite of passage; being cheated of it by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is an undeniable disappointment.

Even so, Pride is more than just a party (even if it’s a really fabulous one), and while the usual festivities may be cancelled, the spirit behind them is not. The LGBTQ+ community has risen to the challenge of 2020 with inventive ways to re-channel the Pride Experience for the physically-distanced needs of our time, and although a virtual event can never deliver quite the same visceral thrills as an in-person celebration, it’s worth noting that this year’s proliferation of internet and broadcast events has made Pride accessible to millions of people who might otherwise never have had the opportunity to participate, or to hear the messages of hope and acceptance that queer people in oppressive social environments around the world need to be able to hear.

Chances are good you’ve already experienced one or more of these livestreamed or broadcasted extravaganzas, but if you are still looking to get your Pride on before the month slips away next week, there are still some big ones coming your way.

One of the biggest is sure to be “Live, Work, Pose-A-Thon!” As a part of Pride month, Disney Television Studios and FX are presenting a commercial-free one-hour virtual event, showcasing the cast and producers of “Pose” to raise awareness for GLSEN, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, three notable organizations that work to support LGBTQ+ education, social change for sexual and gender minority people of color, and transgender equality through legal services and policy efforts.

The special will be emceed by Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-award winning actor and activist Billy Porter along with co-star Mj Rodriguez, and unites the voices behind the critically-acclaimed drama series “Pose.” Featured will be music and anecdotes from Porter, Rodriguez, Angel Bismark Curiel, Sandra Bernhard, Dyllón Burnside, Steven Canals, Dominique Jackson, Jeremy McClain, Janet Mock, Indya Moore, Our Lady J, Jason Rodriguez, Angelica Ross, Hailie Sahar, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Charlayne Woodard, and Patti LuPone.  “Pose” supervising producer Tanase Popa serves as producer of the special.

“I’m so proud of our cast and producers for coming together to present an uplifting hour of song and stories,” said co-creator, executive producer, writer, and director Steven Canals.  “In the spirit of ‘Pose,’ our goal is to celebrate joy, love and, of course, pride, from our family to yours.”

Executive producer, writer, and director Janet Mock added, “Since we’ve been unable to shoot the show we love, we jumped at the chance to reunite our ‘Pose’ family and partner with the studio and network to raise spirits and awareness about the plight of LGBTQ+ people of color during such a turbulent time.  This Pride month special is a commemoration of our forebears’ efforts, a memorial for trans lives lost, and a celebration of the life-saving work of LGBTQ+ organizations.”

“Pose-a-Thon!” will air Friday, June 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on FX and Freeform.  Viewers can also tune-in same day starting at 7:00 p.m. PT at www.poseathon.com.

If you’re someone who likes to make Pride an excuse for world travel, it goes without saying that this is not a good year for that – but you can at least grab a taste. Tel Aviv Pride takes place every year in June, with a surge of gay-friendly events taking place across the city and a Pride Parade that has become the largest one among all in the Middle East. In light of the Corona pandemic, that parade has been cancelled (or at least postponed), along with the rest of the four largest pride parades in Israel – Haifa, Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva and Tel Aviv-Yafo – but that doesn’t mean the whole celebration is shut down.

According to Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, “Even if we cannot hold the traditional pride parade this year, we will mark pride month with alternative events. Tel Aviv, which has already been acknowledged as the world’s most gay-friendly city, will continue to be a lighthouse city – spreading the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy to the world.”

Those “alternative events” taking place live in the city will involve over 100 drag queens and queer artists taking over the city’s streets in honor of pride month. Throughout the day on June 25, live shows will surprise passersby in central locations around the city, including open spaces, restaurants, local businesses and rooftops.

While it may not be possible for you to experience these pop-up Pride events in person, you can still experience Tel Aviv Pride vicariously through its Pride Month Virtual Tour, which will visit some of the city’s queerest landmarks and explore its queer history and culture, engaging with some of the local divas and discussing some of the open questions around LGBTQA life in Tel Aviv.

The tour takes place on Thursday June 25th at 8pm, and you can join it through this Zoom Link.

Finally, for an even more expansive experience of Pride around the world, you can join the festivities for Global Pride 2020, produced by Interpride and available through several streaming partners – including Revry, the first LGBTQ+ virtual cable network, which has teamed up with Littlstar (the livestreaming platform for PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, and Android TV) to launch the first VR streaming channel for the queer community just in time for this season of Pride. You can join this spectacular worldwide event on June 27th and 28th, when Revry will livestream it for 24 hours on the Revry Now channel (available on the Revry apps) as well as on the Littlstar platform – creating a first-of-its-kind VR Pride Festival experience!

“Littlstar is excited to partner with Revry to redefine how LGBTQ+ audiences view content. Viewers can now interact with each other remotely in virtual reality, or if there is no VR headset available they can live stream it directly to their TV via PlayStation 4 which currently reaches over 100M homes,” said Tony Mugavero, CEO & Co-Founder of Littlstar.

“We’re thrilled to have Revry as one of our official streaming partners,” says Julian Sanjivan, Co-President of Interpride. “Partnering with Revry gives Global Pride 2020 an opportunity to access audiences and community members who may not otherwise be able to participate in the programming, especially where our other platforms are not accessible or allowed. Revry’s new live VR Channel on the Littlstar app brings our event live on PlayStations across the globe and universally available to anyone with an internet connection.”

More than 500 Pride organizations around the world have submitted more than 1,000 pieces of content for Global Pride which will include messages from former US Vice-President Joe Biden, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and artists Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, Kesha and Todrick Hall amongst many more. You can see the full line-up here.

Viewers with a PlayStation VR will be able to watch the stream in a custom virtual world, and viewers without VR headsets can view the stream on billions of mobile device at live.littlstar.com. If you’d rather opt for a “normal” 2D livestream broadcast, you can do it on the Revry Now channel on the Revry network available online (watch.revry.tv) and in all major app stores.

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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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